A woman of Christian faith was driven to suicide due to harassment faced by constant surveillance by authorities.
In December 2013, the Chinese Communist Party officially declared that it was ending its “re-education through labor” system. However, ever since then, the authorities have come up with various other ways to monitor the citizens, including the newly instituted “transformation through education” camps.
The CCP has always viewed religious faith as its enemy and in recent years, persecution of believers has only increased. Being one of the major religions in China, Christianity has been targeted in many ways. From crosses being put down, churches being demolished, sales of Bible banned and finally, believers being put in jails for mere belief in God; everything is sadly common in China today.
Bitter Winter recently spoke to Shi Rui (pseudonym) about her mother-in-law, Liu Limei, who committed suicide years ago as a direct result of CCP policies. Both women were believers of The Church of Almighty God, which is what put them on the radar of authorities in the first place.
In July 2009, Ms. Liu, a resident of Shanxi’s Shuozhou city, was arrested at her home. The police, during their raid, pried open even the floors and walls while searching for evidence of her belief.
During her interrogation, she was made to stand in a half-squat position and not allowed to sleep for days. As per Ms. Shi, her mother-in-law suffered from the irregular pulse, gastritis, and lumbar disc protrusion before she underwent the physical torture in her detention.
Ms. Liu was kept in detention for 8 days. On the final day, her husband paid around 50,000 RMB or 7300 USD to secure her release. The police had to let her go because they did not get information from her during interrogation either.
However, that was only the beginning of Ms. Liu’s nightmares. Not only was she made to visit her local Public Security Bureau every month for reports, she was also followed around relentlessly for the next five years.
A camera was installed near her home so the police could monitor every movement of her and her family. A car followed her even when she would step out to get groceries. The police would visit her at home during government holidays to enquire about her religious beliefs.
This surveillance also spilled over to Ms. Liu and her family members’ workplaces. Police officials would show up to Ms. Liu’s office to collect her DNA samples, fingerprints and so on, because of which she was ostracized by her colleagues. Ms. Liu had to leave her job eventually.
Other than that, officials also frequented Ms. Liu’s husband’s and son’s workplaces. They would enquire about their religious beliefs, which led to both men being passed up for promotions and benefits frequently. Ms. Liu’s daughter, who is still in school, was discriminated against as well. Her school leaders would often summon her to talk about her ideological outlook.
In this situation, Ms. Liu had to cut off contact with her church and could not attend any meetings. Things got even worse in June 2014 when the CCP launched its “One Hundred Day Battle”. Christians were arrested en-masse across the country due to that program. Those who had been previously arrested were being taken into detention again, even if they had been released for lack of evidence earlier.
And so, Ms. Liu fled to the Shanyin county of her city. Her husband would visit at her new home sometimes but even he could never stay for long. They were always worried that the authorities might be following him. She also got news that the police had come looking for her at her home. Worried that she would be discovered again and put in detention, she started living in an invisible cage.
She would not turn on the lights at her new home or venture out during the day. She lived in total darkness in a small, cramped room for five months.
Unable to take anymore of this nightmare, she ended her life by throwing herself into the Lüliang city river. She was 44 years old.
When her body was discovered, her husband wept uncontrollably. But then, he also said, “We should be happy. She is finally free. She no longer has to live a miserable life under pursuit by the CCP, drifting and hiding everywhere…”
Today, Ms. Shi too lives abroad. She has called upon the international community and human rights organizations to help her put an end of CCP’s inhuman suppression of religious belief. She also advocates for greater religious liberty on behalf of The Church of Almighty God and hopes that Chinese Christians will one day have the same freedom as their Western counterparts.
Reported by Feng Gang