At least 25 members of The Church of Almighty God are being detained at the Phoenix Ravine Resort, which has been turned into a “legal education center.”
As of October, Bitter Winter reporters discovered, the Phoenix Ravine Resort Center in Nanchang city, in the southeastern province of Jiangxi, has been transformed into a “legal education center” – a secret detention place to forcibly “transform” believers – where at least 25 members of The Church of Almighty God, or CAG, are currently being held.
As per anonymous government sources, the “legal education center” has been established as part of the crackdown – codenamed “Hurricane” – against the CAG, launched by Jiangxi provincial authorities in September this year. A recent Bitter Winter report exposed several secret indoctrination bases where the CCP detains and interrogates arrested Christians after they’ve been arrested. The detained are forced to sign an application to “study” at the indoctrination center.
One source, speaking on the condition of anonymity due to safety concerns, described the interior of the Phoenix Ravine Resort Center this way: “It is surrounded by walls and is very big inside. It takes about five or six minutes to drive from the main entrance to the hotel used for indoctrination. Inside, people are separately detained, with one person per room. The entrance of each room consists of two doors. The first is an iron gate soldered with stainless steel tubes – it is very sturdy, resembling an anti-theft barred window. The interior door is the hotel’s wooden door. After entering the room, you will see two single beds and a barred window. Anti-religious slogans are posted on the wall opposite the beds.”
Each Christian detained at this facility is assigned two exclusive “tutors,” who call themselves volunteers. Some claim to be graduates of theological seminaries while others claim to be from government institutions. The “education,” the source said, goes something like this: To start, the Christians are forced to watch a number of CCP-produced videos of anti-religious propaganda, which is supposed to encourage the Christians to renounce their faiths and leave the church. If this doesn’t work on its own, the tutors turn hostile, using threats, intimidation and other rough tactics to force Christians into signing the “four statements” – those being the statement of criticism, repentance, guarantee, and break-up – which ultimately means betraying and abandoning their faiths.
If a Christian still refuses to denounce their religion, the police will start in on their families, who, the source said, are forced to accompany the detainee. The threats and intimidation take many forms, like threatening livelihoods by terminating employment or squashing future job prospects. And if the coercion and torture of family members still isn’t enough for a Christian to sign the four statements, he or she is sent to a detention center where they will await sentencing for a prison term.
Reported by Lin Yijiang