EN CC My Experience of the “Finding Relatives Overseas” Farce – Zhao Lin, The Church of Almighty God

EN CC My Experience of the “Finding Relatives Overseas” Farce – Zhao Lin, The Church of Almighty God


My name is Zhao Lin (pseudonym)
and I’ve believed in Almighty God for 24 years. I was arrested in the city of Chongqing
on March 1, 2013 because of my faith. In an effort to force me to disclose information on the whereabouts of brothers and sisters
and the church money, the police handcuffed my hands
behind my back, just like this, viciously beat me in the head with a thick book
and brutally kicked my legs. All I had done was believe in God and share the gospel—
I hadn’t done anything illegal, so why would the CCP treat me like a criminal,
wantonly torturing and harming me? That night, I was put into
the Fuling District Detention House. They (the police) questioned me multiple times
while I was kept there. On March 31, they took me away from the detention house
to a secret interrogation base located in an extremely remote vacation spot where they violently interrogated me in a basement. They handcuffed my left hand
so I was dangling from a window; I could just barely touch the ground with my toes. Then they handcuffed my hands behind my back
and interrogated me continuously for 12 hours. My physical strength was completely depleted—
I was shaking all over, panting so much that I felt
as if I was going to stop breathing, and only then did the police halt their questioning. The CCP sets up unofficial prisons and extrajudicial
interrogation facilities as they please. Is this what they call “judicial justice”? The CCP police locked me
for about 46 days without any evidence; I was released on April 15, 2013. My brother came to pick me up that day. A Chongqing City government official told him, “If your sister continues to believe in God, she’ll be arrested
and definitely given a heavy sentence, plus your two children won’t get into university
or be able to take the civil service exam.” Our local chief of police
warned my father and brother, saying that if I keep believing in God
our entire family will suffer along with me. He also told my father and brother
to watch over me and keep me in check, to make sure I didn’t continue practicing my faith. Afraid of the CCP, my family
started to strongly oppose my faith and wouldn’t allow me to attend gatherings. Moreover, police and village committee members often come to my home to threaten me,
keeping watch over me and trying to force me to give up my faith. Although I had been released,
it was just like being locked up in a huge prison. I could not even talk with my mom about belief in God. I was really depressed and suffering, and I often cried silently and prayed alone. Having no other choice, I left and since then have been unable to return home. I’m just a regular Christian—
I just believe in God and share the gospel, but the CCP used the future of my brother’s children
to menace my family. How could it do that? The CCP openly violates the constitution,
arbitrarily arresting people of faith. It’s completely lawless. Why would it persecute my family?
Why would it strip away their right to survival? Isn’t it forcing believers onto a dead-end road? I fled to South Korea in 2015, and here I finally came to enjoy a life
with freedom of belief. I can practice my faith and attend gatherings
without fear of arrest— I’m really grateful to the South Korean government for accepting us Christians
who have suffered persecution. I thought that the CCP wouldn’t be able
to persecute me any longer, but to my surprise, its evil hand, its persecution of Christians,
extends even to this country. This hard-won life of freedom was shattered. In late August 2018, the CCP got more than ten family members of Christians
to come to South Korea through coercion; a pro-CCP named O Myung-ok organized a press conference under the guise of
“helping victims’ families find their relatives” and spread rumors, saying that
we have not suffered persecution in China. She slandered us as false refugees and strongly urged the South Korean government to send Christians with The Church of Almighty God
seeking asylum back to China. My brother was one of the people who came.
I was shocked— he well knew that I had been arrested in China
because of my faith, but he still went along with the CCP saying
that belief in God is not persecuted in China, and asked me to go back home. I requested to meet with my brother
through the foreign affairs police, but this was refused by O Myung-ok. It wasn’t until their demonstrations
in front of The Church of Almighty God and the Blue House were over that I was able to see him. I asked him, “All of you have come from different cities
and provinces and you don’t know each other. Who brought you all together? Who arranged for all of you
to come to South Korea at the same time?” He kept skirting the subject,
always hemming and hawing, until he finally said one thing: “I’m not asking you to come back to China.
I just want you to have a good life here.” Hearing him say this,
I understood that he was coerced into coming. The CCP was getting our relatives to come make a scene and cause trouble in an effort to get us extradited
so it could continue to persecute us. There were several other brothers and sisters who met with their family members
who had come “looking for relatives.” I learned more details of this farce from them. Brother Chen, a member of our Church,
called his mother in China and found out that the CCP government had told his family members to cooperate with the government
by joining this “family-finding group” and take him back to China. He was told that it would bring trouble to his family
if he didn’t go back. The CCP said that the government
would pay for all expenses and all activities in South Korea
had already been arranged. One relative of Brother Jia said
that police with the National Security Bureau often went to his work unit to pester and trouble him. There was nothing he could do,
so he agreed to join the “family-finding group.” The CCP also created videos slandering Brother Jia, saying that after gaining his faith
he had become indifferent to his family, and that he refused to go back to China
to take care of his wife’s sick mother because he had gone abroad to proselytize, and that he wouldn’t allow his child to go to school. But in fact, before he, his wife
and child came to Korea, Brother Jia’s mother-in-law had already passed away, and their child has been attending school in Korea. Another sister from our church, Sister Jin is ethnically Korean
and has lived in South Korea for many years. She is in constant contact
with her mother in China over the phone. In a call with her mother on August 30 (last year), she learned that her mother
was going to come to South Korea, and to her surprise her mother appeared
on a Jeju Island press conference the following day. Ms. O Myung-ok slandered that
since believing in Almighty God, Sister Jin had not been in contact with her family, and that her father had died in a car accident caused by the psychological stress
of missing her so much. However, the truth is that
her father had died of a brain hemorrhage, which was unrelated to a traffic accident, and while he was ill, Sister Jin had remained
in consistent contact with her family. The CCP has fabricated so many absurd lies
to get Christians sent back to China, flipping the truth on its head,
throwing dust in people’s eyes! One CAG Christian’s relative who is in China
said that the police told her that since it was inconvenient for the CCP government
to have direct talks with the South Korean government and request extradition of these Christians, they were putting together
this civilian “family-finding group” to put pressure on South Korea, and the Chinese government would come forward after the South Korean government
had taken notice of this. Such despicable behavior by the CCP under the guise of “helping victims’ families
find their relatives” is incredibly shameless! The CCP government has always arrested
and persecuted Christians in China forcing us away from our homes,
leaving us with no choice but to flee the country. Now we have fled China, but the CCP government still
masquerades as an angel of light, distorting right and wrong saying
that we believers have been misled and that they’re helping our families
to get us to “come home.” The truth is that when Christians go back to China it’s not remotely “coming home,”
but is going into prison. After returning to China,
some brothers and sisters have been arrested, subjected to brutal torture, and given heavy sentences. Some are still in prison
and some are missing to this day. The CCP government coerced our relatives
into coming “looking for family” to make a scene in South Korea, and spread lies to deceive international society. Its true aim is to get Christians extradited to China,
to exterminate us. I can’t help but feel angry
seeing such hypocrisy and evildoing by the CCP. In today’s society, in today’s world, apart from the CCP, what country’s ruling party
would do something so shameless as relentlessly pursue
and attack Christians and their families? And what country’s ruling party would
despise God and Christians as the CCP does? Last month more than ten brothers and sisters
in our Church learned from mainland relatives that the CCP is planning to play the same old tricks to deceive and coerce them into
coming to South Korea to “look for relatives,” claiming that this time
they wanted to make substantive “progress.” Mainland China is in a downturn
and the people are seething; people in every region
are constantly protesting for their rights, but the CCP continues to comprehensively
ban all religious beliefs, expending vast resources, human and material, to go abroad to harass Christians
and try to bring them back to China. I really never imagined that the CCP
would do something so inhuman, so evil. There are also Uyghurs at this conference today, and over these years they’ve been subjected
to the CCP’s cruel persecution along with Christians. It is my hope that
international human rights organizations and people of righteousness in South Korea continue to take note of
the religious persecution in China, and provide assistance for religious refugees
who have fled to South Korea. Thank you.

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