A Christian man from Gansu was arrested four years ago for his religious belief. He has completed his sentence but continues to be monitored by authorities.
Bitter Winter recently spoke to Wang Zhongyi (pseudonym), a 68-year-old house church Christian. He has spent three years of his life in prison because he believed in God. He is back home but is far from being free.
In August 2014, 13 officers from the local police station in Gansu’s Yuzhong county conducted an illegal raid at Mr. Wang’s home. They seized three Bibles and 1,000 RMB (about 150 USD) in cash.
Mr. Wang was interrogated at the police station but let off that day. However, five days later, police officers showed up at his home again and this time, took him to a local detention center.
The police then collected his fingerprints, palm prints, and blood samples. A case was filed, but he spent the next one and a half year in detention without any trial. His family tried getting him out by paying over 10,000 RMB or 1,500 USD in bribes, but it did not work.
While in custody, Mr. Wang was repeatedly pressured to tell on fellow believers. He was forced to sign a “repentance statement,” “break-up statement,” and “statement of guarantee.”
In February 2016, the court sentenced Mr. Wang to three years in prison for “participating in a xie jiao organization, engaging in superstitious activities, and disturbing public order.” He was taken to Gansu Province’s Dingxi prison to serve his sentence.
While in prison, Mr. Wang was required to work 13 hours per day affixing labels onto finished clothing products. If he did not finish his assigned tasks, he had to work overtime. As a result of heavy labor sitting for hours in the same position, Mr. Wang has developed serious health problems.
Mr. Wang was finally released in September last year. However, the police still require him to report to the station regularly. At times, officers visit him at his home to interrogate if he still has religious beliefs.
Reported by Ma Xiagu