Two Christian women in Xinjiang were detained last year, and the family continues to face harassment and round-the-clock surveillance.
In September last year, police officers from the local national security brigade charged into the home of 74-year-old Ma Yi (pseudonym). After they found religious texts at the house, they took the elderly woman into detention. Three days later, her daughter, Zhang Ling (pseudonym), was also detained.
Ms. Zhang had previously been arrested in 2012 as well. She had recently completed her 4-year sentence in prison for her belief when she was taken away again for the same reason. She has now spent an additional ten months in prison and is currently in custody at a “transformation through education” camp.
Ms. Yi’s husband has been trying to secure her release. He has even attempted offering bribes but was told that believers were primary surveillance targets of the government and can’t be released on bail. Last year, he went to the police to request to see his wife. However, they offered him a deal; he would have to carry out Party ideological work and ensure that his wife reports her church’s leaders to the police. But he was unable to convince his wife and so, hasn’t seen her ever since.
Instead, the authorities have now put him on surveillance too. Officials visit him at his home every day to take pictures and track his movements. He is distressed by this ongoing monitoring and said, “I’m nearly 80 years old, and they watch me every day like I’m a criminal.”
Reported by Li Zaili