CHINA: Religion and persecution issues – Bimonthly newsletter Dec.1-15
12.12.2022 – Chinese anti-cult (and anti-religious) propaganda adopts new style
The China Anti-Xie-Jiao association has unveiled on different websites and social media its new series of posters against banned religious movements labeled as “xie jiao.” As readers of Bitter Winter know, “xie jiao” is officially translated in English-language Chinese documents as “evil cults,” but has been used for more than a thousand years in China to indicate “heterodox teachings” the government does not approve of.
06.12.2022 – CCP violates the China-Vatican agreement
The Holy See’s Press Office issued a statement on November 26 condemning Beijing for installing a bishop in a diocese not recognized by the Holy See. The Vatican accused the Chinese authorities of violating the Vatican-China bishop appointment agreement. China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on November 28 that it had no knowledge of the “specific circumstances.” All the evidence shows that Beijing is not bound by the Holy See and the Vatican-China bilateral agreement on the appointment of bishops and will not respect the Vatican’s right to appoint bishops.
13.12.2022 – Butchers of Tibetan Buddhists and of Falun Gong Practitioners sanctioned by the U.S.
On the eve of Human Rights Day, December 10, the U.S. Department of State announced sanctions against five Chinese individuals responsible for gross human rights violations, perpetrated in particular against Tibetan Buddhists and Falun Gong practitioners. Those sanctioned are prohibited from entering the United States and their assets in the country, if any, are frozen.
Tang Yong is the former deputy director of the Chongqing Area Prisons. He has been sanctioned for violating human rights of Falun Gong practitioners, which of course, the Department of State says, is also a violation of freedom of religion. In 2020, the U.S. had already sanctioned Huang Yuanxiong, director of the Wucun Police Station of the Xiamen Municipal Public Security Bureau, and in 2021 Yu Hui, former director of the Anti-Xie-Jiao Office in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, for having seriously violated the human rights of Falun Gong practitioners.
15.12.2022 – Elder Qin Defu of Early Rain released
On December 9, Elder Qin Defu was released from prison after serving his four-year sentence.
Four years prior, Chengdu police raided Early Rain Covenant Church while violently apprehending over 100 congregants. They confiscated church property and shut down the building with its private school and library. Among the believers arrested was Elder Qin Defu and Pastor Wang Yi. This massive, brutal arrest is widely referred as the “129” crackdown Not long before these events, Wang Yi published a joint statement of faith; a statement signed by over 400 house church pastors and leaders. The 129 crackdown sent shockwaves across China, affecting every church associated with the joint statement.
13.12.2022 – Falsely accused elders could face severe penalties
Qingcaodi Church disclosed in an open letter that the case that Hao Ming, a former elder of the church, and Wu Jiannan, the incumbent elder of the church, may be punished severely. Deyang City Jingyang District Court falsely accused both of fraud, which could entail a $71,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison.
Elder Hao Ming, 65 years old, and Elder Wu Jiannan were taken away by police on November 17, 2021. They were criminally detained two days later on suspicion of “fraud” by police. Last Christmas, the families of Elders Hao Ming and Wu Jiannan received their arrest notice with an official indictment of fraud.
08.12.2022 – David Lin: China promises to free in 2030 American Pastor detained since 2006
An American pastor has been detained in China since 2006. The U.S. administration’s efforts to have him released have now achieved a result, as in the eve of the Biden-Xi Jinping meeting in Bali the pastor had his life imprisonment penalty reduced to 24 years, meaning he should be free in 2030.
07.12.2022 – Trial for Zion reformed member postpones, wife calls for actions
Zhao Weikai, a coworker of Zion Reformed Church, has not been tried since authorities arrested him for terrorism on July 7.
Zhao Weikai, 36 years old, is a coworker at Zion Reformed Church and a close friend with Minister An Yankui. They attended West China Seminary together and returned to Taiyuan to do ministry together. Zhao Weikai and his wife Li Xin decided to homeschool their three children to avoid atheistic brainwashing in public education. The local Bureau of Ethnic and Religious Affairs, Bureau of Education, and national security officers asked to speak with the couple multiple times. They threatened to send the kids to public school and arrest Zhao, but he refused to comply.
05.12.2022 – Secret trial held for elder Zhang Chunlei
On November 29, Guiyang Municipal People’s Intermediate Court secretly held the trial of Ren’ai Reformed Elder Zhang Chunlei. Authorities suspected him of fraud and inciting subversion of state power. Yang Aiqing, his wife, was prohibited from attending the trial even though she submitted the application for attending in advance. The trial lasted over 6 hours, from 9:30 AM-4:00 PM. The entrance of the court was so heavily guarded that even security staff said that they never witnessed the massive show of force. Some congregants of Ren’ai Reformed were followed, and others waited at the entrance but were removed by sub–district personnel.
13.12.2022 – Torture method used in a prison and a labor camp in Jilin Province: spreading salt onto open wounds
Many practitioners have been subjected to various forms of torture since the Chinese Communist Party launched a brutal persecution of Falun Gong on July 20, 1999.
Both Gongzhuling Prison and the now defunct Chaoyanggou Labor Camp in Jilin Province used one particular torture to make practitioners suffer even more – rubbing salt into open wounds. This method was used repeatedly on wounds that were about to heal. Practitioners were also shocked with electric batons on their wounds and anus area.
10.12.2022 – Once incarcerated 15 years, former energy department chief gets another five years for his faith
A Meizhou City, Guangdong Province, resident was recently sentenced to five years and fined 50,000 yuan for his faith in Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.
Mr. Xie Hanzhu, 60, and the former deputy chief of the local energy department, was arrested at home on October 20, 2021. His Falun Gong books and some cash were confiscated.
06.12.2022 – Recent torture cases of Falun Gong practitioners in the Hulan prison
Since the onset of the persecution of Falun Gong in 1999, the authorities in Heilongjiang Province have actively followed the communist regime in torturing the practitioners in order to force them to renounce their faith.
One of the torture facilities is the Hulan Prison, which is designated for those sentenced to heavy terms and death row inmates. A total of 17 torture deaths have been recorded since 1999. Except for three practitioners in their 70s and one practitioner whose age is unknown, most of the practitioners were still in their primes when they died.
05.12.2022 – Heilongjiang woman faces financial devastation after serving second prison term for her faith
A former teacher in Muling Town, Heilongjiang Province has had her pension suspended since July 2020, two years after she finished serving four years for her faith in Falun Gong.
In addition to the financial persecution and latest prison sentence, Ms. Gao Xiurong has previously been given one and a half years of forced labor and sentenced to three years.
Ms. Gao isn’t the only member in her family who has been persecuted for practicing Falun Gong. Her father and mother both succumbed to the mental distress and passed away in 2007 and 2017, respectively. Her brother died ten days after he was arrested in 2016.
Protestants in pretrial detention (in addition to HRWF database of Protestants sentenced to prison terms)