The CCP forces believers to give up their faith by implicating their families, threatening to deter education or employment opportunities, revoke state benefits.
by An Xin
The ancient Chinese tactic of guilt by association was used to punish entire families of offenders in the name of crime reduction. The CCP regime now employs this tool to suppress religious beliefs, implicating many for the alleged “crimes” of one.
A member of a house church affiliated with South Korea told Bitter Winter that in August 2019, her daughter applied for a job at a state-run press agency. After examining her records, officials learned about her mother’s membership in the church because she was summoned by the police in April 2018 for downloading a video by a South Korean pastor and designated as a person “colluding with a foreign country to overthrow socialism.” The young woman was immediately disqualified.
The son of a house church member from the southeastern province of Jiangxi was also punished for his mother’s religious belief. In August 2019, he passed entrance exams to an aviation college. Still, the young man was denied admission. He was told that “three generations of the immediate family of believers cannot enroll in this college.” The woman was given an ultimatum: If she wanted her son to attend the college, she had to sign a statement renouncing her faith and pledging her loyalty to the Communist Party. Forced to choose between her son’s future and her religion, the woman was in a dire predicament. In the end, she refused to write the statement, for which she was abused by her husband and rebuked by neighbors.
The CCP’s religious persecution through guilt by association has resulted in numerous broken families. Many members of The Church of Almighty God (CAG), the single most persecuted religious movement in China, can attest to that.
A CAG believer from the southeastern province of Fujian, who has previously been detained for her faith, told Bitter Winter that her husband had been a government employee for more than ten years. His superiors always praised him for being a conscientious worker. Last October, they informed him that as part of a nationwide campaign, families of all CAG members with a criminal record are being investigated, and those who work for the government would be dismissed without exception. On top of that, three generations of descendants would be deprived of opportunities to work in state-run institutions. If they wanted to keep their jobs, government workers must persuade their family members to sign statements pledging to leave the CAG. Since the woman refused, her husband was fired.
Video: A female guard at the gate of the Penglai City Detention House in the eastern province of Shandong declares: “The moment you enter, you must consider that because of your fault, you, your family members, and your relatives are restricted from going to college, joining the army, getting a job, taking exam for civil service, and so on.”
An elderly CAG member from the eastern province of Zhejiang passed away at the beginning of last year. In August, his grandson applied to join the army and passed the mandatory physical examination. During the investigation of his family background, his grandfather’s membership in the CAG was uncovered, and the young man was disqualified. When his parents tried to reason with government officials, one of them proclaimed that being in the CAG is more serious a crime than thievery and robbery, and their son could not join the army even though his grandfather had died. He added that this was a “hard” policy from the central government, and no exceptions are allowed.
A CAG member from the central province of Hunan told Bitter Winter that her son’s wedding was canceled after his fiancée’s parents learned about her faith. They became worried that if the couple had a child, his future could be ruined because the grandmother was a member of the CAG. “In the past, my son did not object to my belief, but he started protesting after his marriage plans were wrecked,” the woman lamented.