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By Willy Fautré

HRWF (05.02.2021) – In 2020, at least 7055 members of The Church of Almighty God (CAG) were arrested in China, 1098 of them were sentenced to a prison term, and 21 lost their lives under torture, according to the 2020 Annual Report of the Church.

Jiang Yanghua, a Christian from Xinjiang, was given a 15-year sentence for “convening” gatherings. Three Christians who were minors at the time of their arrests, were sentenced to prison terms: three years to two of them and three and a half years for the other one.

At least 35,752 Christians were victims of various forms of police harassment, according to the CAG.

The report details the ongoing destruction of religious venues and crosses by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) during the pandemic and reveals a number of confidential documents. It also lists a series of crackdowns resulting in mass arrests.

In February 2020, a police operation was carried out in Sichuan Province although many cities and towns were under a severe lockdown. At least 142 CAG Christians were arrested.

On 16-17 May, over 100 CAG Christians were arrested in Linfen City, Shanxi Province.

On 11 November, in a single day, at least 120 CAG Christians were arrested in Zibo City, Shandong Province.

On 3 December, no less than 200 Christians were arrested in Zhejiang Province. A number of them had been under police surveillance for nearly a year.

While in custody, they were subjected to various forms of torture such as sleep deprivation, electric shocks, being suspended from handcuffs, having their fingers stabbed with toothpicks, and having their nipples put in iron clamps.

At least 21 Christians died in 2020 as a result of torture and other forms of abuse.

Qin Shiqin, a CAG Christian from Shandong Province, passed away after being held in a police station for 10 days.

Additionally, the CCP’s oppression of The Church of Almighty God continued to intensify. In September, the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission issued a confidential document calling for a three-year “all-out war” against The Church of Almighty God.  The Church was identified as “the most prominent potential threat” to its rule, its “utter annihilation” was put on the CCP’s agenda as a priority and efforts are to be intensified to thwart the CAG’s growth abroad. After the release of the document, the number of arrests climbed steadily to reach 1525 for the sole month of November alone across the country.

The CCP also extended its oppression beyond China’s borders. A Christian living abroad who appeared in CAG films became a target of CCP’s persecution while his relatives in China were subjected to harassment and one of them died in the hands of the police.

The CCP also established a big data platform for the surveillance of CAG’s members, using a variety of illegal practices such as inciting anti-CAG public hostility, applying guilt by association and misusing the social credit system. The CCP did not hesitate either to use blackmail: recanting their faith or depriving them and their relatives of their right to employment, education, basic living allowances, travel, and more.

The Church of Almighty God, a new religious movement, was established in 1991. Due to its rapid growth and its refusal to accept government control, it has been perceived as a threat by the CCP. It is currently among the religious groups facing the most severe persecution by the CCP. At least 420,000 of its members have suffered arrests from 2011 until now.

This report has been compiled by the CAG on the basis of over 40,000 documented cases of CCP’s persecution and confidential documents released by CCP officials. It provides a valuable resource made up of solid data and evidence that can be useful for researchers and defenders of religious freedom in China. It is available at

https://en.godfootsteps.org/persecution/annual-report-2020.html

Several thousands of CAG members fled to Europe for safety. They urgently need to be recognized as political refugees.

For more information about The Church of Almighty God by scholars in religious studies, see

https://www.cesnur.org/cag_page.htm

https://cesnur.net/category/church-of-almighty-god/

For more information about the CAG, see their website here.

https://en.godfootsteps.org/news.html 

 

 

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