HRWF (26.08.2020) – Chen Xin (pseudonym) was born in Fujian Province, China. He was a Christian from his childhood and joined The Church of Almighty God (CAG) in 2002. His faith, and connecting activities, caused his arrest in 2003 and his sentence of one-year detention in a labor camp. During that time he was subjected to severe punishments, and forced to do 14 hours a day hard labor. In October 2015 he fled to Italy and filed an application for asylum. He shared his experiences with Human Rights Without Frontiers.
Arrested for carrying a Bible and religious books
“On the night of June 30, 2003, when Brother Wu and I went to his relative’s home to spread the gospel, we were stopped by the police at a fork in the road. They forcibly took away my laptop bag to search it. As soon as they found the Bible and some CAG books, they called the local Religious Affairs Bureau and took us to a border police station.”
Interrogated, tortured, and sentenced to one-year imprisonment
“In order to get information from me about church leaders and church assets, the Religious Affairs Bureau officials and the police interrogated and tortured me. They violently slapped me in the face, beat, and kicked me. They pulled my hands from my back and tied my thumbs together tightly with a hemp cord. It hurt so bad that I could not sleep a wink that whole night. On the second day, the cord had already cut deep wounds in my flesh, and my thumbs were black and felt numb. Then the police ordered me to do the horse-riding stance. In less than two minutes it caused me to sweat and I was unable to control the trembling in my hands and feet. The policeman first slapped me various times, and then hit on my head with a book. My face was burning with pain and I heard a ringing in my ears. They then put a motorcycle helmet on my head and banged my head on the wall continuously for seven to eight times. The strikes caused me to feel dizzy and made me vomit, until I collapsed on the floor. The policeman then forcibly took me back again into the interrogation room. Seeing that I still refused to confess, a policeman made me kneel down, with my knees on the edge of a metal pan of only ten centimeters in diameter. Its edge penetrated deeply into my knees, making me suffer unbearably into the bones. After kneeling for about one minute, my whole body trembled. I felt dizzy, and soon fell on the ground.
Without any proof and with no officially recognized legal process, the CCP government charged me of belonging to a xie jiao organization, and sentenced me to one year of detention in a labor camp.”
Stripped naked and forced to do slave labor
“In China’s prisons believers in God are deemed to be the leading political criminals, meaning that both jailers and convicts can abuse and insult them at will. As soon as I entered the cell, the guards started to incite the other convicts to torturing me. They forced me to get completely naked, do a half squat, and open my mouth wide in front of everybody. Then by throwing a continuous jet of water into my face they almost suffocated me.
Life in the labor camp was inhuman. The cells are less than fifty square meters, and house more than seventy people, with horrible sanitary conditions. Every day we had plain rice which contained insects, and a bowl of vegetable soup with seven or eight worms, and no oil. As a result of the lack of nutrition, my body was swollen everywhere. Often I had allergic reactions. In the camp, I had to perform hard labor for fourteen hours each day, without any remuneration. The needles caused blisters in my hands, causing great pain. I was given no bandages. Doing hard labor for such a long time, combined with hunger, gradually made me sick. I was given no medical attention. During the night I often heard the cries and screams of fellow convicts who were beaten by other inmates or the guards. It was so horrible. The prisoner in the bed opposite to mine had tried to commit suicide. All of those scenes occupied my mind from time to time, and I often woke up from nightmares. These ten months went by in pain, fear, and great suffering.
After I was released, the village officials repeatedly showed up at my house to be checked. The police threatened me with another arrest in case I believed in God.
To avoid being arrested again by the Chinese Communist Government, and for my family’s safety, I had no choice but to leave my home, and run away. I continued practicing my faith in other places while doing odd jobs.”
“In July 2008, I was reported to the police by a couple when I had shared the gospel with them. I had to leave from there quickly.
During a decade on the run, the CCP police often searched for believers in God under pretense of checking for a so called Temporary Resident Permit. This caused me to live in constant fear, and to suffer miserably.
In July 2015, a brother in our church was arrested by the police; I, myself, was also seen in the security video they had. The police called my home phone to ask my whereabouts. They monitored the phone so they could find me and arrest me. Realizing that I lived in greater danger and that I had no place to hide in China, I decided to flee the country, and seek for asylum abroad.
Sometime later, using connections and money, I obtained a passport. In October 2015, I successfully fled to Italy. Once there I filed for asylum. Unfortunately, the Italian Immigration Department denied my application twice because of fabricated misinformation by the CCP. I appealed to the Supreme Court and am currently awaiting for a final decision. I sincerely hope the international community can truly stand behind those who are persecuted, rather than intentionally ignoring the CCP’s persecution of Christians.”