Bitter Winter continues to receive witness accounts about the arrest of more than 700 members of The Church of Almighty God on June 26-28 in Liaoning Province.
Bitter Winter reported earlier that the Chinese Communist Party authorities’ massive crackdown on The Church of Almighty God, a Chinese Christian new religious movement in Liaoning Province, on June 26-28, had been planned months in advance of its execution. It resulted in the arrests of 700 believers in Almighty God, many members of the Church were forced to flee their homes. Sources report that the “Operation Thunder” was held in nine of fourteen province’s prefectures. Below are more detailed accounts of the arrests of The Church of Almighty God members in different cities of the province.
Heavy rain was falling in the evening of June 26, so Church member Gao Li stayed in a hotel because she was unable to return home. In the middle of the night, five officers suddenly burst into her room with an excuse to check the residence permits. A female officer confiscated three mobile phones and an MP3 player and escorted her to the Chifeng Public Security Bureau in Inner Mongolia.
At about 6 p.m. on June 26, two officers from the Liaoyang county police station barged into the home of Gao Feng, checked his ID card and then took him to the police station for questioning claiming to be gathering information.
At nearly 4 a.m. on June 27, An Xin from Faku county in Shenyang was asleep when a loud commotion suddenly awoke her, and six police officers rushed into the room and surrounded her. They arrested her under the pretext of needing to gather information, leaving her sick husband who cannot care for himself, on his own.
At about 8 a.m. on June 27, five officers drove to the home of Li Ping in Faku county, Shenyang. After entering the house and after verifying her identity they took her away, arresting one more member of the Church on the way. While at the station, Li Ping saw 24 other fellow religionists who had also been taken in.
In the early morning of June 26, four officers were waiting in ambush at the entrance Qu Meng’s home in Zhen’an district. When her daughter opened the door, they got inside. Seeing Qu Meng was not at home, they demanded that her family members disclosed her whereabouts and ordered her daughter to take them to her, but they were unsuccessful. When Qu Meng returned home the following day and learned the police had been here to arrest her, she took her religious items and fled the area.
At 4:15 a.m. on June 27, seven plainclothes officers from the Maokuishan police station burst into the home of Xu Xin, a member of the Church in his 70s. Without showing any documentation, the police took him and his wife as well as their non-believer son to the police station and confiscated all the items they had with them Officers then enticed their son to take them to his sister, also a believer, threatening that, otherwise, his parents would be detained for a long time. His sister was arrested, but the elderly couple has not been yet released.
At 6:24 a.m. on June 27, four officers from Yongdian town, Kuandian county barged into the home of Xu Ying, showed a search warrant, and raided the entire house. They confiscated religious literature and MP5 players they found and took her away in a police car.
On June 27 at about 3 p.m., six plainclothes police officers from Kuandian county rushed into the home of Xiaochu. After securing him outside the house, they raided his house, eventually, taking away his laptop and two MP5 players. His wife tried to interfere, claiming that believing in God was not a crime, to which an officer replied that all believers would be arrested. Xiaochu’s wife then tried to stop officers from searching their wardrobe but was forcibly pulled away, leaving bruises on her arm. After the search, Xiaochu was taken away.
Around 6 p.m. on June 27, Xin Cheng and her husband were eating dinner when five officers from the Zhenxing district police station suddenly barged in. They demanded to know who had converted them to believe in Almighty God and whether they had attended any Church gatherings. Xin Cheng did not respond, so they forcefully held her while tearing apart everything in the house. Police found nothing during the search but still took Xin Cheng and her non-believer husband to the police station.
Around midnight on June 27, the police burst into the home of Xin Tian and arrested him, his wife, who is suffering from intestinal cancer, and their daughter-in-law, confiscating all religious materials in the house.
Late at night, around 11 p.m. on June 26, more than ten Benxi police officers entered the home of Yong Xin. Since she was not at home, they arrested her father. The following day they returned to search the house, even going through their coal storage, and confiscated religious literature they found.
At midnight on June 26, Zhou Lan and her family were asleep at home in Huanren county when they heard someone outside yell, “There’s a water leak from your house!” Mrs. Zhou opened the door, believing it was an urgent matter, but six Public Security Bureau officers forced themselves inside and began ransacking the house. They found a box of religious literature and then took both her and her daughter away.
At about 1 a.m. on June 27, Yu Hua from Xiaoshi town was deep in sleep at home when five local police officers went over a yard wall to get into her house. Without a word, they entered the rooms and raided them. Yu Hua’s mother-in-law was startled awake, and seeing what was going on, angrily asked the officers, “We haven’t broken any laws. On what grounds can you break into a citizen’s home at night and go through their things. They replied that her daughter-in-law belongs to The Church of Almighty God, which is considered to be against the law, and took Yu Hua to a local police station.
At 5:04 in the morning of June 27, Zhang Lan, an elderly member of the Church from Huanren county, was asleep when five local plainclothes officers charged into her home. They then ordered her to come with them. Without showing any documentation, they searched the house and confiscated her religious literature and other items. Zhang Lan tried to plead with the officers to leave her alone, but a female officer continued to push her and would not let her go. Zhang Lan was later taken to a local police station for questioning.
At 5 a.m. on June 27, the local police raided the home of Li Na in Changtu county, Tieling city. Several officers burst into the house and went straight to the bedroom, pulled the bed apart, and found several religious books. Without letting her say a word, they took Li Na away.
At 6 a.m. on June 27, the police suddenly burst into the home of Li Ying from Dadong district in Donggang city and took her away. At about 7 a.m., three or four officers went back to the house and unlawfully arrested her husband who was not a believer. After he was released that evening, the police raided his home but found nothing, however, Li Ying in still in custody.
At 6:24 a.m. on June 27, five officers burst into the home of Wang Min from Zhuanghe city, intending to arrest her. She was not home, but the police ransacked the house searching for evidence of her faith, finding nothing. They then rushed to her workplace and raided it. Without finding any evidence, they forcibly took her to the Public Security Bureau and questioned her about the whereabouts of her church’s funds. Her family tried to use their connections to help release her, but they have been unable to contact Wang Min and do not know where the police are holding her.
At 8 a.m. on June 27, Xu Xin and her mother from Xinglongtai district in Panjin city were arrested in their home by local police officers, and all their religious literature was confiscated. An officer revealed that they had been previously monitored.
At about 4 p.m. on June 28, police officers drove to the home of Zhu Hong from Fengcheng city. They asked she believed in Almighty God. After she confirmed, they recorded a video of her and then searched her entire house but did not find anything. They then took her away.
One of the arrested believers said that the police constantly yell at members of the Church during interrogations that “the Communist Party rules by force.” They threaten that if people continue to believe in Almighty God, their children will not be able to get a job, join the army, get into college, or be civil servants. Quite often, the arrested are forced to sign forged confession or letters refusing their belief.
(All the names in this article are pseudonyms)
Reported by Piao Junying