Human Rights in China – The Church of Almighty God

Arrested and Tortured for their Belief in China:Also a concern for the EU

A mass crack-down in Chinese religious law has led hundreds of people to imprisonment and torture. As their friends and families seek safety, EU Member States are tending to turn them away.

On 28 March 2017, Zhang Ming met with three Church friends in one of their homes in a village of Huaiyang County, China. As the four discussed their religious beliefs in the privacy of home, around 9:00am a white van arrived outside.

Three men stepped out of the white van and, without showing any identification or papers, forced their way into the home. The three un-identified men were police officers. They searched the house, seizing books, memory cards, and other electronics.

By 11:00am, the four friends were handcuffed and brought to the National Security Brigade of the Public Security bureau in Huaiyang County. It is here that their days of hell began.

Upon their arrival to the location, the four were searched and interrogated.

Zhang Ming was interrogated by a high-ranking officer of the National Security Team. During his interrogation, he recalls that they attempted to force him to confess to fabricated charges. As Zhang Ming denied them, the physical torture began. The authorities beat Zhang Ming severely, kicking him, slapping him, and whipping him with a leather belt. Zhang Ming reports that they threatened to inject him with heroin.

The beatings continued throughout the afternoon and the interrogation finally ended around 23:00; after which, Zhang Ming was left to sit on a torture rack – a sharp surface – for the remainder of the night. At 8:00am, the interrogation and torture would begin again, with the police asking questions about Zhang Ming’s friends and colleagues.

It was reported that Zhang Ming’s three other friends faced similar torture over the days following 28 March.

On 1 April 2017, the police released Zhang Ming, giving him a cell phone and instructing him to always answer it whenever they call.

Zhang Ming and his friends were arrested and tortured for their belief in the Church of Almighty God.

Over the past years the Chinese authorities have led a nation-wide crackdown on the Church of Almighty God. Many members in China have been subject to arrest, imprisonment, and torture. Human Rights Without Frontiers has collected over 600 such cases.

Church of Almighty God members have fled China in search of safety. Unfortunately, many have had their asylum applications rejected, including in European countries. The statistics below are of asylum-seeking Church of Almighty God members as of May 2018.

Through months of research, Human Rights Without Frontiers has concluded that if these people are deported back to China, they will be targeted, arrested, tortured or even killed.

Many Church of Almighty God members that have been deported back to China, or have voluntarily entered China (for medical treatments, family occasions, etc.), have been immediately arrested upon arrival – sometimes even in the airport terminal.

Human Rights Without Frontiers urges member states of the European Union to grant Church of Almighty God members asylum, as the testimonies and data collected have proved inescapable human rights abuses for those in China.

By Lea Perekrests, Deputy-Director, Human Rights Without Frontiers