– Religious refugees from China should not be sent back to their country where they would be at risk of being arrested and tortured, sometimes to death. They should be granted political asylum –
HRWF (15.10.2018) – On March 27, 1991, Chen Jun and 13 other Christians from Henan Province went to the city of Harbin in Heilongjiang Province for a religious gathering. They were arrested on their way back and were held in the Henan Labor Camp for two years. Chen Jun was brutally tortured by the police in the labor camp resulting in serious health problems but was denied access to medical care. After his release, he was arrested twice more, and his health condition grew worse and worse. In September 1996, he was brutalized to death by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). He was then only 46 years old.
More than 20 years later, Ms Zhang Xiaoyue, who was born in 1964 and lived in Sankou (Anhui Province), started believing in the message of Jesus Christ in 1996 and joined The Church of Almighty God (CAG) one year later. On September 2, 2014, Zhang Xiaoyue was arrested by the police of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) because she was practising her faith in The Church of Almighty God. She was sentenced to three years in prison. The prison guards deprived her of sleep, food and drinks, and had her tortured by her inmates because she refused to recant her faith. She died from their treatment. She was then 50.
During that period and afterwards, hundreds of Christians belonging to The Church of Almighty God were tortured to death. See our report “Tortured to Death” at https://hrwf.eu/forb/our-reports/
CHEN JUN, A CHRISTIAN, DIED FROM THE CCP’s RE-EDUCATION THROUGH FORCED LABOR
Condemned as a counterrevolutionary for believing in God—Arrested, tortured, and paraded through the streets
On March 27, 1991, Chen Jun and 13 other Christians went to Yongyuan Town in Harbin, Heilongjiang Province to attend a one-week religious gathering. On his way back, Chen Jun was carrying about 200 copies of spiritual books when he was arrested by the police at the train station and sent to a local detention center.
At that time it was only 4 or 5 degrees Celsius (about 40 degrees Fahrenheit) in Heilongjiang. The police handcuffed his arms behind his back on a concrete column and continually poured cold water over his head, his body, and into his boots. They forced him to sit cross-legged on a cold woodden floor for 33 days in a row and did not allow him to move. When he did, even a little bit, they would punch and kick him, leaving the skin of his ankles peeling off, and even instructed other prisoners to beat him.
On April 8, 1991, the government of Yongyuan Town in Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province hung signs on Chen Jun and the other thirteen Christians and paraded them through the streets for the crimes of “being anti-Party, counterrevolutionary, anti-humanity, anti-government, and attempting to overthrow the regime.” Thirty-three days later, Chen Jun was transferred to the Yongcheng City Public Security Bureau in Henan Province and the other 13 were sent to a local facility for detention.
In late June 1991, Public Security Bureau staff tried to blackmail Chen Jun’s family for 7,000 RMB, but they barely had enough to make ends meet and could not come up with the money.
On July 6, 1991, two officers of the Yongcheng National Security Brigade took Chen Jun back home. His wife saw her husband’s face was pale and gaunt, and he even lacked the strength to walk. The officers exploited that opportunity to extort 350 RMB from her and told her: “If you continue to believe in God, your children will suffer. They won’t be able to join the military or get into college in future.” She had no choice but to give the two children’s tuition and all of their living expenses to the police (she was not given a receipt). But after taking the money, they took Chen Jun back to the Yongcheng Public Security Bureau.
Incredible torture over two years of forced labor
On July 7, 1991, the Yongcheng Public Security Bureau sentenced Chen Jun to two years of hard labor for “disrupting social order, being counterrevolutionary, anti-Party, anti-government, and subverting state power.” They used a coal truck to secretly take him to the labor re-education camp in Henan Province’s Shangqiu City without telling anything to his family. His wife did not find out until late August.
The guards in the labor camp frequently told the other prisoners to punch and kick Chen Jun and snatch his food. He became unbearably hungry. He had to salvage others’ leftover steamed buns from trash cans to take the edge off his hunger. On top of that, he was forced to do very hard labor such as carrying cement. Over time, carrying such heavy loads caused him to become extremely weak.
One day, in August 1992, Chen Jun’s wife visited him and saw that his face and body were swollen. He told her that he could no longer carry cement because he had gotten enteritis and the police forced him to peel garlic every day. If he did not complete a certain amount per day, he was not allowed to eat or sleep. Layers of skin came off his fingers, but he had no other choice than to tolerate the pain and to continue working….
In late August 1993, Chen Jun was released at the end of his prison term. A medical exam showed that he had gotten hepatitis with jaundice. Because he had not received timely treatment in prison, there was serious swelling in his entire body. He was lacking strength, and had completely lost the ability to do any labor. However, the police still required him to report to the Mangshan Town government once a month and he was also forced to undergo re-education. His condition grew much more serious during that time. His family sold all of their valuable possessions to pay for his treatment and borrowed over 8,000 RMB from others. They were in dire straits.
Repeated arrests and persecuted to death
One day in March 1994, at past 12 a.m., three officers from the Mangshan Police Station suddenly came to Chen Jun’s home and without showing any paperwork wantonly searched the house. They came up empty-handed, but arrested Chen Jun again on the alleged ground that someone had reported he had been spreading the gospel. They detained him in a local detention facility. While he was locked up, the police extorted over 100 RMB from his family. After 17 days they saw that his condition had become very serious and feared being held responsible. They then released him to avoid any trouble.
One day in March 1995, during the night, two officers from the Mangshan Police Station jumped over a wall to enter the courtyard of Chen’s home and forcibly took him to the station although he was seriously weak. The next morning, they saw that he was incurably ill and he could die at any moment. Only then they agreed to send him home, warning him not to practice his faith any longer.
In late 1995, Chen Jun became bedridden as a consequence of the Chinese Communist Party’s unrelenting persecution. He passed away on September 19, 1996 at the age of 46.
CHRISTIAN ZHANG XIAOYUE DIED FROM FOOD DEPRIVATION AND BEATINGS FOR KEEPING HER FAITH
Ms Zhang Xiaoyue, who was born in 1964 and lived in Sankou (Huangshan City, Huangshan District, Anhui Province), started believing in the message of Jesus Christ in 1996 and joined The Church of Almighty God (CAG) one year later.
On September 2, 2014, Zhang Xiaoyue was arrested by the police of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) because she was practising her faith in The Church of Almighty God. She was sentenced to three years in prison and was killed while serving her sentence. She was then 50. Below is Zhang’s story of her persecution to death.
Around 5 a.m. on September 2, 2014, the police from Huangshan District, Huangshan City (Anhui Province) carried out a concerted operation resulting in the arrest of five local Christians from The Church of Almighty God. Zhang Xiaoyue was one of them.
At about 8 a.m. that morning, Zhang Xiaoyue’s mother went to her home but saw no sign of her. Later on, she received a phone call informing her that Ms Li Ru (alias), a Christian from the same Church, had been arrested because of her beliefs in the teachings of The Church of Almighty God and the police had confiscated a lot of spiritual books found in her house. After this call, she rushed to her daughter’s house to look for her again and discovered that all her spiritual books had disppeared. She figured out that her daughter had also been arrested by the police.
Three or four days later, Yu Zhe, a village cadre, went with two police officers to Zhang Xiaoyue’s mother’s home and said to her, “Your daughter has been arrested and is being held in a detention center because of her beliefs in The Church of Almighty God. Take some clothing for her.”
Zhang Xiaoyue’s mother became extremely anxious and angrily asked them, “My daughter’s faith does not break any law. Why did you arrest her? She has cerebral atrophy. By arresting her, aren’t you putting her on a path to death?” But the police had no compassion for her and yelled at her, “Your daughter believes in Almighty God, and this is forbidden in China. Her faith is against the law, and she‘s even preaching the gospel all over the place. We don’t care whether she has any kind of disease or not. Everyone who believes in Almighty God must be arrested!” Her mother then collected some clothing to bring to her but she was not allowed to see her.
A month later, Yu Zhe, the village cadre, once again asked Zhang Xiaoyue’s mother to bring her some winter clothing. She took some warm clothes and went to the Huangshan District Public Security Bureau. The police told her that Zhang Xiaoyue had been given a 3-year sentence for “using a xie jiao organization to undermine the enforcement of the law.” However, they only gave her the arrest notice, not the verdict. Zhang Xiaoyue was later transferred to the Changfeng County Women’s Prison, Anhui Province to serve her sentence.
One day in December of 2015, at 3 a.m. Zhang Xiaoyue’s elder brother received a phone call from the prison saying that she had a serious, life-threatening illness and asking him to take her back home. Zhang’s brother and husband rushed to the prison but when they arrived, the staff told them that Zhang Xiaoyue had already died. Zhang’s family made a request to see her corpse. After her family had identified her remains, the prison guards immediately removed her body for cremation. Her family later took her ashes to their hometown for burial.
According to another Christian who was in prison with Zhang Xiaoyue, the guards pressed her to give up her faith and sign three statements (a guarantee, a statement of severing ties with the Church, and a statement of remorse), but she staunchly refused.
The guards then refused to give her anything to eat or drink and ordered the four prisoners sharing her cell to impose their sanctions on her if they did not want to lose points on their behavior card (the attribution of points determines when a prisoner can be released). As they did not want to lose such precious points, the other detainees took turns watching over her day and night.
Because of previous maltreatments, Zhang Xiaoyue was not in good health and could not even walk. Every time she attended an indoctrination class several people had to carry her to the classroom. A prison guard also said that if Zhang Xiaoyue did not sign the three statements, everyone in the cell would lose points and would be hereby penalized. This fanned the flames of the other prisoners’ hatred towards her. They severely beat her, stuffed their shoes into her mouth, hit her in her chest with plastic stools, and forced long-handled shoe brushes into her vagina.
One night in December 2015, Zhang Xiaoyue suddenly started coughing up and defecating blood. The prison guards finally decided to send her to the prison hospital but in an early morning, she passed away in the prison. The guards later spread rumors slandering her, saying that because of her faith she had become possessed by the devil and had harmed herself to the point of death.