The Chinese authorities continue to employ the same methods against religious movements as used to fight organized crime.
According to informed sources, at a meeting held in August, provincial authorities in Shandong took a decision to intensify the persecution of The Church of Almighty God (CAG), a Chinese Christian new religious movement. The three-month operation will be implemented as part of a nation-wide campaign ”to clean up gang and eliminate evil,” adopted by the Central Committee of the Communist Party and the State Council of China on January 24, 2018.
As Bitter Winter reported earlier, the authorities in China are treating certain religious movements as criminal gangs and employ the same tools to wipe them out as used for organized crime.
As per the source, in Shandong’s Laixi city, the authorities have ordered local police officers to be on stand-by 18 hours a day and await orders to arrest CAG members at any time.
On September 1, authorities in Laixi of Qingdao sub-provincial city dispatched a large group of police officers to carry out arrests of CAG members in the townships under its jurisdiction. That day, in Nanshu town alone, at least six members of the Church were illegally arrested, their homes were raided, and at least 100,000 RMB (around 15,000 USD) taken from them.
More members of the Church were arrested that day. At 5 a.m. on September 1, Zhong Lin went outside to empty the trash. Two plainclothes officers got out of their car and arrested her immediately after confirming her identity. The police then forcibly handcuffed her, put a black hood over her head, and forced her into a police car.
Around the same time, another believer, Liu Chunmei, was getting ready to go to work when the police stormed into her home and arrested her.
At 7 a.m. on the same day, about 15 plainclothes officers from Laixi Public Security Bureau surrounded the home of Ji Mingyan and arrested her along with three other Church members. The police handcuffed all four of them, placed black hoods over their heads, restricted their movement, and raided Ms.Ji’s home. They searched every corner of her home, including her cupboards, refrigerator, closet, and yard, and also searched above and beneath the bed. In the end, the police confiscated four notebook computers, more than 100,000 RMB in cash, and other valuables. Afterward, all four Christians were escorted to the town’s police station. Four police officers set up a stakeout at Ji Mingyan’s home, waiting for an opportunity to ambush and arrest other believers.
In the early hours of September 2, the police carried out arrests in three villages of another township in Laixi.
(To protect the identity of the people, all names in the article are pseudonyms).
Reported 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.