Gao Ying was a 73-year-old woman from Bin-zhou City in Shandong Province. She was a Christian and member of The Church of Almighty God (CAG).
On August 27, 2018, Gao Ying and her husband Gao Sheng, along with three other Christians, were holding a gathering in their home when 5 or 6 officers from the local police station suddenly stormed in, and without providing any identification, proceeded to conduct a thorough search of the house, turning the entire place upside-down. They confiscated all 38,400 RMB (about 5,408 USD) of Gao Ying’s pension money as well as 600 RMB (about 84 USD) in church funds. They also took 4 or 5 faith-related books as well as a tablet computer containing information on belief in God. Gao Ying and the other four Christians were then forcibly taken to the local police station to undergo questioning.
At the police station, an officer threatened Gao Sheng, saying, “We’ve been watching you for over a month. If you continue to believe in God, your children will suffer. They won’t be allowed to take university entrance examinations or enter the military and no one will want to hire them. This is a political issue!” The interrogation ultimately yielded no new information for the officers.
At 5 p.m. on the same day, Gao Ying and Gao Sheng were both sentenced to 10 days of administrative detention, but because they both suffered from serious chronic illnesses, the sentencing was delayed and they were allowed to return home.
Gao Ying had hypertension and cardiovascular disease and had previously suffered a stroke, but she had previously kept her symptoms under control with the aid of medication. However, the extreme stress of having her house searched and being arrested by the police caused her blood pressure to skyrocket and further aggravated her condition.
Despite all this, the police still didn’t let up on them. At around 11 a.m. on August 30, two police came to Gao Ying’s home and threatened Gao Sheng, saying, “If you continue to believe in God and are caught by us or if someone reports you, you’ll be facing very serious charges!”
After that, the police began closely monitoring the Gao’s—there were security cameras trained on every angle of their house, making it impossible to meet with any other Christians. As a result, they had to forfeit the church life they had led in the past. The only Christian-themed item not to be confiscated in the house raid was the Gao’s MP5 player containing recordings of God’s word, and this became Gao Ying’s spiritual solace—she listened nearly every day.
After recovering for over half a year, Gao Ying’s blood pressure slowly returned to normal and she no longer felt palpitations; overall her health had improved quite a bit.
On the morning of May 31, 2019 at 9 a.m., three officers from the local police station suddenly rushed into her house, yelling, “We came to pay you a visit!” Without providing any identification, they began searching through the house, severely scrutinizing every nook and cranny, before finally finding the MP5 player that Gao Ying had hidden in her medication box. The officer viciously snarled at Gao Ying, “You’re still listening to your recordings?” Afterward, they continued to wantonly upend the house, searching for nearly an hour and only stopping when they failed to find any more faith-related documents. Due to the shock and stress of the officers’ sudden entry, Gao Ying’s blood pressure shot up to as high as 180-190mmHg, but the police showed not even the slightest regard for her well-being. They placed the MP5 by the couple and then took a picture before confiscating the device. As they left, they yelled out, “We’ll be coming back to your house again! No other believers are allowed to enter your house!”
After the police left, Gao Ying sat stunned on her couch, her face contorted in agony. She regretted that she hadn’t concealed her MP5, and, wracked with self-blame, she lamented, “I should’ve hid that MP5 better. The police have taken it away and there’s no getting it back now!” After sharing a few comforting words with Gao Ying, Gao Sheng went around the house, surveying the rooms that the police had searched. When he returned, he found Gao Ying passed out on the floor and not breathing. The doctors later surmised that the emotional stress had caused her to have a heart attack, which took her life.
Gao Ying’s family was outraged, they said, “The police persecuted an innocent person to death!”
The arrest, threats and harassment of the police had deprived Gao Ying of her right to practice religion freely, not to mention her right to life. Having lost his greatest companion in life, Gao Sheng was profoundly sorrowful and helpless and often broke down in tears.