Source: Direct Reports from China
Date: May 1, 2018
As part of the consequences of the new law on religion, which came into effect on February 1, 2018, Bitter Winter has learned that members of The Church of Almighty God, one of the Christian new religious movements banned in China as xie jiao (“heterodox teachings”), who had already been arrested and released, are sought again by the police. The following cases were reported from China (with real names being disguised under aliases) and refer to devotees of The Church of Almighty God who had already served terms in jail in the past.
On the morning of March 9, 2018, between 10 and 11 a.m., four policemen from a local police station in Nanling County, Wuhu City, headed by the deputy director, came to the house of An Ping’s (female, 36) mother for inquiring about the whereabouts of An Ping but to no avail. Then, the four went to her hometown and interrogated her husband. An’s husband reproached them indignantly, “An Ping has never broken the law. Why do you always pester her?” The deputy director answered, “Never break the law? She has criminal records (referring to her membership in The Church of Almighty God)! The National People’s Congress will soon be held. Let her come out. We need to talk with her! Don’t try to be crafty. She is always avoiding us. The more she hides, the worse. If she continue escaping, we will issue the wanted notice! Wherever she flees, she will be arrested!” Then they strode off. Afterward, the police called An’s husband every three days to question him about her whereabouts. To avoid police’s harassment and arrest, An Ping and her husband had to flee and go into hiding.
On March 7, 2018, two policemen from a local police station in Nanling County, Wuhu City broke into Zhang Lin’s (male, 61) house from the front and back doors. On seeing Zhang, they said furiously, “You are finally at home today, we have come to your house more than ten times…” and then forced him to get into a police car. Zhang Lin asked in anger, “I just believe in true God and have not done anything illegal. Why do you monitor and arrest me again and again?” The policeman driving the car replied, “The state is against the God you believe in, so believing in [your] God is illegal.” After arriving at the police station, Zhang Lin was directly taken to the director’s office. Pointing at the seized books, CDs and MP5 players of The Church of Almighty God on the table, the director interrogated him whether he had these books and CDs, whether he attended meetings and whom he had contact with. Gaining no result, the police ordered him to report to the police station monthly, even if he worked away from home. Before Zhang left, the director forced him to sign and fingerprint three pieces of paper.
At about 10 a.m. on March 12, 2018, local village cadres brought two policemen to Xiao Ma’s (male, 65) house in Wuhu City, Anhui Province. Seeing the door locked, they asked Xiao’s neighbor about his whereabouts. They also went to Xiao’s second oldest brother (not a member of The Church of Almighty God) to ask him about the whereabouts of Xiao. After failing to get any results, the police forcibly got the phone number of Xiao’s second brother and ordered him to report Xiao’s updates to the police station.
Around 10 a.m. on March 12, 2018, two cops from Wuhu Fanchang County police station came to Fang Yi’s (male, 70) house. While one of the policemen deliberately approached Fang and pretended to befriend him, the other took photos of him by mobile phone. Fang asked the police why they did so. However, the policemen changed the subject. It is known that the local police have constantly dropped in to examine and harass Fang ever since he was released on August 5, 2004.