At least 32 members of The Church of Almighty God have been arrested and tortured around Xuzhou, Jiangsu, where the police are trying to capture local leaders of the movement.
Bitter Winter has learned that the police in Jiangsu Province joined a recent nation-wide campaign to crack down on The Church of Almighty God (CAG), a Christian new religious movement that is currently regarded by the Chinese Communist Party as its number one enemy.
At about 4 p.m. on June 2, seven or eight police officers charged into the home of Wang Jie (pseudonym), a CAG member in the Tongshan district of the city of Xuzhou. Without showing any warrant, they arrested her and two co-religionists, Zhang Xin and Li Pin (pseudonyms), confiscating about a dozen religious books.
After the trio was taken to the police station, the officers realized that eighty-year-old Wang was suffering from heart disease, and should she die while in custody, they will be blamed. They let Wang’s son vouch for her release, although they warned her that she would be kept under surveillance.
Eleven police officers raided Zhang Xin’s home and seized 53 religious texts, three digital mp5 players, and one computer. Currently, Li Ping and Zhang Xin are still in custody, and their whereabouts are unknown.
On June 2 at approximately 7 p.m., a group of plain-clothed officers from the local police station raided the home of CAG member Li Chunying (pseudonym), with the intent of arresting her. At the time, Li Chunying was not home, and thus managed to evade the capture. According to eyewitness descriptions, Li’s home was ransacked, her quilts ripped, bed flipped, and even her cat house and dog kennel were searched. The officers also forcibly opened and ransacked a room that Li was renting to a guest not connected with the CAG. Police searched the house for approximately one hour, then left. Li is still a fugitive, with the police closely watching her home, hoping to catch her if she returns.
In a township of Xuzhou city, twelve CAG members were captured. The police employ the technique known in China as “using a long line to catch a big fish,” tracking and monitoring ordinary CAG members hoping to be led to capture the higher-level leaders who are their primary targets. Torture and sleep deprivation are used to obtain information about the leaders. However, ordinary CAG members are also prosecuted and sentenced. According to an insider, after this arrest, elderly members are being sentenced to three-five years, and younger members – up to ten years.
Report by Jiang Tao
Jiang Tao (uses pseudonyms for security reasons), aged 42, is from Henan Province. He previously served as a magazine editor and has long been concerned about vulnerable groups that are being persecuted in China. He has written a variety of commentaries probing human rights issues in China, and his articles have been published in international journals. After leaving his magazine job in 2015, he started visiting and interviewing persecuted religious groups and other vulnerable groups and gathering information about incidents. He joined Bitter Winter in 2018, and since then is dedicated to reporting the persecution incidents in Henan, Shanghai, Anhui, and other regions.