Source: Direct Reports from China
Date: June 15, 2018
Persecution of religious groups in China, especially those that the government tags as “evil cults” quite often results in detention and arrest of believers causing severe consequences for them and their family member. The story of Jiang Xin, a preacher of a house church from the city of Hulunbuir in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, is just one example of many how the Chinese authorities are treating the undesirable religious groups.
Jiang Xin, in her early forties at the time of the event, learned from her friend that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) police were preparing to arrest her for her belief and preaching the gospel in early 2012. Afraid of being arrested, she started spending her days hiding in a barn, only venturing into the house to sleep. She slept in her clothes so that she could escape quickly if the police came to arrest her. One morning, four policemen led by the chief of the local police station drove to her house, and Jiang Xin barely managed to escape by jumping through the window. After that, she left her home for nearly a year and lived in hiding from the CCP police. She tried to go back home a few times, but her friend warned her that authorities are apprehending and arresting Christians who have prior criminal records or who are registered in archives, especially those who believe in Almighty God, Catholics or are members of house churches. “The government has your name; you can’t go home.”
At the beginning of 2013, Jiang Xin took a chance and returned home. The police quickly learned of the news, and shortly after her return, the captain of the local criminal police brigade with four policemen drove to Jiang’s home. They forcibly handcuffed her and escorted her to the criminal police brigade. After Jiang Xin’s arrest, her husband found connections and spent more than 20,000 yuan to rescue her.
She was finally released, after 15 days of detention, but she came home a different person – her demeanor had turned to reticent from a fun-loving woman she used to be. Most probably, as a result of torture and police brutality, she endured during her detention, she would spend her days hiding under a blanket in a corner crying bitterly or staring straightforward in a state of trance.
After Jiang was released, officers from the local police station and the court came to her house and asked her family if she still believed in God. Jiang Xin’s husband replied angrily, “Haven’t you finished with her yet? You have already arrested and fined her, you hurt her and turned her into a different person. What else do you want?” Seeing that Jiang Xin, indeed, did not look like herself, the police left the family alone. She did not leave home for three years after that. Although her situation has improved now, her speech and behavior are still far from normal.
Bitter Winter reports on how religions are allowed, or not allowed, to operate in China and how some are severely persecuted after they are labeled as “xie jiao,” or heterodox teachings. We publish news difficult to find elsewhere, analyses, and debates.
Placed under the editorship of Massimo Introvigne, one of the most well-known scholars of religion internationally, “Bitter Winter” is a cooperative enterprise by scholars, human rights activists, and members of religious organizations persecuted in China (some of them have elected, for obvious reasons, to remain anonymous).