72 believers of the Born Again Movement were arrested in 2012 in Jiangsu’s Xuzhou city. Some of them continue to be persecuted today.
The Born Again movement is a prominent Protestant house church in China. Founded by Xu Yongze in Henan, the church has several million followers and is also known as Word of Life Church, All Ranges, or All Sphere Church.
It is not a part of the government-controlled Three-Self Protestant movement. Which is why, the church has always been on CCP’s target, and it is included into the list of xie jiao, religious movements that follow heterodox teachings.
Bitter Winter spoke to Ms. Xia He (pseudonym), a Born Again believer. She recounts the turn of events from 2012 when over 70 believers were taken into custody.
In February 2012, 71 believers were gathered at Ms. Xia’s home in Jiangsu’s Xuzhou city.
The gathering was reported to the police anonymously. Soon, more than forty armed police officials showed up at Ms. Xia’s home. They wielded loaded rifles and wore metal helmets. The police blocked the potential escape routes, before going inside the venue. They then raided the house church from where they seized cellphones, bags, and religious texts.
All 72 believers were then taken to the local police station for interrogation. They were asked questions about the church leaders, donation money and so on. Whoever refused to answer was slapped or beaten up, including an 82- year-old woman.
A month later, Ms. Xia was transferred to the prison. However, the prison authorities refused to admit her on the grounds that her body was swollen and her health was at risk. She then spent another month at the detention center before she was released. While one believer was given a one-year sentence and two released after 10-15 days, the status of the remaining 68 remains unclear to date.
Today Ms. Xia is 53 and continues to face harassment by police and government authorities.
Reported by Jiang Tao