This year at the OSCE's Human Dimension Implementation Meeting 2017 in Warsaw, representatives of the Church of Almighty God (CAG), contacted the delegates of Soteria International and presented the challenges their organization was facing in China. It is important to raise concern with regards to their situation and to make their case more known, thus helping them to attend their fundamental rights.
The Church of Almighty God, established in 1991, has released it's annual report "2017 Annual Report on the Chinese Communist Government’s Persecution of the Church of Almighty God"detailing it's persecution in the People's Republic of China. The report provides a history of the persecution of the Church, and documents individual cases of persecution.
We present you here an excerpt of the report , and the entire original report you can access on the Center for Studies on New Religions webpage here: http://www.cesnur.org/2017/almighty_china_report.pdf
"2017 Annual Report on the Chinese Communist Government’s Persecution of the Church of Almighty God
The Church of Almighty God (CAG), also known as Eastern Lightning, has long been one of the most severely persecuted Chinese house churches by the Chinese Communist government. Since its establishment in 1991, the CAG has continued to endure the brutal repression and persecution of the Chinese Communist government. In 1995, the CCP government used trumped-up charges such as “fraud in the name of religion, Qigong” and “deification of their leading members” to condemn the CAG as an “evil cult” and brutally repress and persecute the CAG. According to rough statistics, in just the two short years between 2011 and 2013, the number of Christians of the CAG illegally arrested, detained and sentenced by the Communist Party reached 380,380 people, of which 43,640 people were subjected to various methods of torture at the hands of kangaroo courts, including 13 people who were persecuted to death. As of now, there are already 44 well-documented cases of Christians of the CAG killed by the Communist Party. In 2017, the repression of the CAG by the Communist Party continues to escalate.
The CCP Government Increases Suppression of Religious Beliefs
In 2017, the CCP government issued a “Two High” (Supreme People’s Court and Supreme People’s Procuratorate) judicial interpretation and passed a new “Regulations on Religious Affairs” to further restrict the public right to freedom of religion and increase the suppression and persecution of religious beliefs.
In January 2017, the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate jointly released the “Interpretation of the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate on Several Issues concerning the Application of Law in the Handling of Criminal Cases involving Sabotaging the Enforcement of Laws by Organizing and Utilizing Cult Organizations,” which was officially implemented on February 1, 2017. This “Interpretation” sets out definitions, sentencing, and procedures for determining propaganda materials in relation to so-called “cult organizations,” and stipulates severe punishment for seven types of free religious activities, including preaching in schools or education and training institutions, preaching to minors, public servants engaging in religious activities, and so forth. The issuance of this document has expanded the scope of criminal law and involves the deprivation of citizens’ political rights and restriction of personal freedom, and provides more legal bases for the Communist Party to increase the conviction and punishment of Christians of house churches such as the CAG.
On August 26, 2017, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang signed the newly revised “Regulations on Religious Affairs,” with the regulations set to be implemented on February 1, 2018. The new regulations pay much more attention to the management of religious institutions, and significantly increase the restrictions of the staging of religious activities in unregistered spaces. In addition, the regulations provide clear prohibitions against religious education and training and foreign exchanges that have not been officially approved by the government, and add many bans and supervisory provisions related to the finances, publications and online propaganda of religious affairs. The new regulations endow government departments and the State Administration for Religious Affairs with extreme surveillance and administrative powers and provide a powerful legal basis for the future suppression, persecution and prohibition of religious beliefs. In particular, the religious activities, religious education, and overseas religious activities of house churches have all been completely throttled on the face of the regulations.
The CCP Government Issued Orders to Launch Special Household Survey Operation, Further Expanding Scope of Persecution
On January 14, 2017, Zhou Qiang, president of the Supreme People’s Court of China, mentioned the need to deepen the struggle against evil cults during the National Supreme People’s Court Chief Justice Forum, asking to increase punishment efforts against the CAG.
Since early 2017, the Chinese Communist government has launched a full- scale special household survey in Mainland China (“Door-knocking Operation”), knocking on every door of the homes and households to search for the members of so-called “evil cults,” and conducting a “blanket” and “dragnet” inspection. According to the internal instructions of the Chinese Communist Party, the purpose of this operation is to gain a comprehensive grasp of the systems, numbers, and direction of activities of the members of so-called “evil cults,” while also implementing an operation to hunt down those who have escaped and the sharing of an “evil cult members information management system” (“database”), thereby creating a management and monitoring network and a “single account book” on all the details of evil cults.
See the original report at: http://www.cesnur.org/2017/almighty_china_report.pdf