Source: Direct Reports from China
Date: June 23, 2018
Twenty-five members of the Shouters church in Xinjiang’s Kuitun city were arrested on March 14, 2017, when six officers from the local Public Security Bureau and police station broke down the door and charged into their gathering place. The arrested, four church leaders among them, were taken to the headquarters of Kuitun Public Security Bureau.
The Shouters, named for their practice of calling the name of the Lord out loud, is a label used by the Chinese regime to designate a large variety of communities, including both the Christian religious movement known in the West as the Local Church and groups that are not part of the Local Church. During the Cultural Revolution, the Chinese Communist Party branded the movement as a “counterrevolutionary organization” and later listed it on a national register of xie jiao organizations, misleadingly translated as “cults.” Under Article 300 of the Chinese Criminal Code, being associated with such organizations automatically leads to arrest, detention or imprisonment.
A 70-year-old woman who was arrested on March 14, told Bitter Winter that, despite her old age, she was detained for six weeks on suspicion of “using a xie jiao organization to undermine the enforcement of the law.” During her detention, she was interrogated multiple times. Officers were forcing her to reveal information about the church by threatening to ruin the career and future prospects for her children and grandchildren. The woman remembered one of the officers saying that her faith was illegal and that it was against the law. “The Communist Party has every right to arrest you. China is an atheist country, if you want to believe in something, believe in the Party.” He was forcing her to denounce her faith, say blasphemies and sing songs in praise of the Communist Party.
The woman was released on April 28 and had to pay a fine of 2,000 RMB, supposedly, for her living expenses during detention, without providing any receipt. She lives under constant strict surveillance by the police and has to report to the neighborhood committee every single day so that they can continue to monitor her and arrest her if they discover she still believes in God.
The four church leaders, arrested the same day, were only released after ten months of detainment.