Author: Lin Lin
As of the time of writing in 2019, three years have already passed since I sought asylum overseas. Fleeing the persecution of the Chinese government, I changed my identity and barely managed to escape to South Korea. Here, I don’t have to worry that the police will suddenly burst into my house to arrest me or that I’ll be tailed or watched when I leave my house, and I’m able to practice my faith without taking any special precautions. It’s a dream come true, and it certainly would’ve been unimaginable in China.
But there was an incident that I’ll never be able to erase from my memory. Ten years ago, the Chinese government launched a major operation to round up members of The Church of Almighty God. Both church leaders and ordinary believers were arrested in the operation. Some people suffered brutal torture and imprisonment; some were robbed of their savings and their livelihood; some were separated from their families, and some even lost their lives.
For the rest of my life, I’ll remember what happened to Sister Ma Suoping (known as Youling at church), who was arrested alongside me. Sister Ma Suoping was tortured to death, simply because she was a believer and ministered at the church, but no one was held responsible or punished for her death. I carry those memories around my neck like a millstone, and every time she comes to mind, I feel sad and heartbroken, as well as enraged by the barbarous deeds of the Chinese government. Even more agonizing is my awareness that there’s nothing I can do to avenge Sister Ma Suoping’s unjust death.
Large-scale arrests just around the corner
Early spring in Seoul was colder than I’d expected, and I made sure to dress warmly before heading out. A few days ago, a reporter who specializes in religious persecution by the Chinese authorities had asked if I’d be willing to meet him at a church near Onsu Station.
When I arrived at the meeting place at 10 am, the reporter hadn’t arrived yet. As I waited, I sipped on some hot tea, trying to warm up. Ten minutes or so later, a woman stepped through the door who looked familiar to me. After a moment’s hesitation, she came up and greeted me. “Sister Lin Lin! It’s been a while.” I hurried to my feet to return the greeting and took her hand in mine. “Sister Xiao Bo, it has been a while! How have things been with you? I’d heard that you’d gotten out of China. Just when I was hoping to see you, you show up! How long has it been now? More than five years, right?” “I know, I know! What luck that you happened to be out like this! Now we’ll be able to worship together. This is really great.”
The two of us were overjoyed to be reunited after so long. There was so much we wanted to say, so many questions to ask, about everything that had happened. While we were in the middle of an enjoyable conversation, the reporter came in. After introducing himself, the reporter told us about his research.
“I’ve heard that the Chinese government carried out a large-scale roundup of the top leaders of The Church of Almighty God in 2009, and I’d like to hear a more detailed account of what happened. I’m also hoping to hear about the torture and death of Sister Ma Suoping, which I’d like to be part of an article about religious persecution in China.” I’d been wanting to raise awareness of the persecution of my fellow believers, so this was a welcome proposal. Both Sister Xiao Bo and I agreed to an interview with the reporter.
“So let’s start with the Chinese government’s roundup of members of The Church of Almighty God in 2009. How much do you know about the situation at that time?”
Sister Xiao Bo spoke first.
“I don’t know much about it, but I’ll tell you what I know. The arrests in that year were aimed at The Church of Almighty God. I’m told it was a secret operation planned by the Ministry of Public Security and referred to as ‘Operation Thunder.’ They’d apparently been planning it since 2008. After learning that the key leaders of The Church of Almighty God were in Zhengzhou in Henan Province, the Ministry of Public Security dispatched several hundred special police to that city. Plainclothes officers were even loitering in the back alleys. Whenever we left the house, we had to be vigilant to ensure that no one was watching or following us. It was a very tumultuous time.”
“What were things like for believers in Zhengzhou at that time?” The reporter’s question evoked painful memories of the past.
This is what Sister Xiao Bo told him. “Zhengzhou was the main target of the 2009 operation. During the six months before the operation was launched, everyone could tell that something was unusual. There was a major uptick in hukou [resident registration] investigations by the residents’ committee, and there were a lot of people sniffing around whenever we went out to attend a service. On top of that, brothers and sisters kept getting arrested, but just a few at a time. The Chinese government was taking every precaution in order to bring in the whole leadership at one blow.
“From what I understand, the houses of more than a hundred believers had been identified and ransacked in Zhengzhou alone. Many important leaders were apprehended, along with all the ordinary brothers and sisters who had been in touch with them. One brother was on the phone with someone who had been in touch with the leaders when the phone suddenly cut off. He tried calling back, but no one answered. Sensing that something was the matter, he immediately packed his things and left his house. Not long after that, there was a police raid.
“One sister who had been in touch with the leaders was at the house of another sister when the police came by. But the first sister had the presence of mind to pretend to be the second sister’s daughter and managed to slip away, claiming she had to work the night shift. She went immediately to a third sister’s house, but since no one was home, she had to spend the night on the roof.
“Overall, it was a very chaotic time. The church assets had to be moved somewhere safe, and everyone helped out despite the risk. There were apparently a ton of close calls, where people barely avoided the police. Given those circumstances, believers would agree to meet at a certain time and, if the other person didn’t show up on time, they’d have to assume they’d been arrested. When that happened, the ones who were still at liberty would flee to another region.”
Listening to Sister Xiao Bo’s story seemed to take me back to those events. For a moment, my hand felt as clammy as when I’d been on the run, trying to avoid the Chinese police dragnet.
Sister Xiao Bo went on.
“I was staying in Zhengzhou preaching the gospel in 2008, and a lot of brothers and sisters were arrested and sent to prison at that time, too. We had to frequently find a new hiding place. Every day was filled with anxiety. It was the end of 2008 when I met Sister Ma Suoping. She’d already been put on the blacklist, and a nationwide hunt was underway for her. After deciding that Zhengzhou was too dangerous, we moved to a different area. Under the cover of night, Sister Ma Suoping, Sister Xiaoqing (a pseudonym), and I traveled together to Shanxi Province.
“We spent three months there, though it felt much longer than that. We were in constant fear that the door would be broken down at any time. We were staying at the house of an elderly sister and didn’t dare to leave the house during the daytime. When we had to go out for some reason, we would wait until the sun went down and it became quiet outside. Back then, it seemed as if the entire world was watching us. We were all on edge.
“At that time, Sister Ma Suoping hardly attended any of the meetings with the other believers. For the most part, she led the church by having the brothers and sisters deliver letters for her. I could tell that she was under a lot of pressure. She was always thinking of the work of the church and worrying about the safety of the brothers and sisters. Almost every night, she would stay at her desk until three or four in the morning. The sister whose house we were staying at was worried about Sister Ma Suoping’s health and often had to remind her not to skip a meal. When she was extremely busy, it was easy to forget about eating.
“We’d been hearing about a disturbing number of arrests of the brothers and sisters. On top of that, Sister Ma Suoping was on the wanted list and was a church leader, which was extremely stressful for her. We were pretty much all sure we would be arrested eventually. So Sister Ma Suoping frequently exhorted the brothers and sisters as follows: ‘Even if we’re arrested someday, we mustn’t be like Judas and betray the church or our brothers and sisters. We must stand strong and bear witness to God, and we must never betray Him.’”
A final sermon before the escape
I’d been so engrossed listening to Sister Xiao Bo that I hadn’t realized the morning was almost over. After wrapping up lunch, the reporter had to leave because of an emergency. After he left, Sister Xiao Bo and I met separately so that I could hear more of Sister Ma Suoping’s story.
Holding a hot cup of tea, Sister Xiao Bo glanced discreetly out the window and then began to speak in a quiet voice. That was how I heard the story about her and Sister Ma Suoping’s life on the run.
“During a late cold snap in early March 2009, the Chinese Communist Party’s oppression and persecution intensified. Church leaders were arrested in several regions that were under the direction of Sister Ma Suoping. On March 11th, we received some sad news: He Zhexun (known as Jiangu in the church), a key leader in The Church of Almighty God, had been arrested along with several other brothers and sisters. (He Zhexun was eventually sentenced to 15 years in prison, and four others were sentenced to 11 or 12 years.) We were all shaken by this awful news. We were worried about each other, not to mention ourselves. The burden was particularly heavy on Sister Ma Suoping, who was the main leader of The Church of Almighty God at the time. She always felt guilty that the brothers and sisters were facing hardship because she’d been remiss in her work. As the number of arrests multiplied, she was no longer able to stay in Shanxi Province, either. In the end, we had to once again take the risk of moving to a new location.
“The move away from Shanxi Province was scheduled for a day at the end of March. That afternoon, we heard that more church leaders and co-workers had been arrested and, more disturbingly, that some of new believers had also been arrested. That placed us in extreme danger. Though the room remained silent, in that instant, we all realized that it was time to depart and packed our things. After completing our preparations, Sister Ma Suoping spoke some encouraging words to the brothers and sisters in order to ease the tension in the room.
“Sister Ma Suoping shared the following words about the will of God: ‘In the end times, God wants to perfect a group of overcomers through trials and adversity. That adversity includes the persecution of the satanic government of the Communist Party of China. Many of the brothers and sisters are currently in prison, and we’ve been forced to flee in all directions, without anywhere safe to go. We could be arrested at any time. I know that everyone is enduring mental hardship and having a tough time. But that’s part of God’s plan. The Chinese government’s persecution is the catalyst for bringing His people to perfection. God uses the Chinese Communist Party’s persecution to more quickly train us and make us complete. The point of this spiritual war is for us to learn the truth and to make us overcomers so that we can bring Satan to shame. At the same time, these terrible trials are also a way for God to test us. If we obey God and stand firm, even to the point of death, Satan will be completely subdued. It is through these trials and adversity that we can see the true nature of the Communist Party of China, which has become the enemy of God. While they loudly and repeatedly claim that their citizens are free to believe whatever they want, they’re quietly apprehending and harming those who believe in God. This reveals the Chinese Communist Party’s crafty plan of improving their reputation by deceiving the world. They’re none other than Satan reincarnated, the foe of God. That’s why they kill everyone who believes in and worships God! As we face their hysterical persecution, there’s something we must bear in mind: All things are under God’s control. Everything that exists and everything that happens in the world is in God’s hand. While praying and crying out to God and reading His word, we must fervently ask God to grant us firmer belief and greater strength. We mustn’t drift away from God, even for an instant. Only then can we stand firm in our belief in God. This is what God has told us: “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” [Matthew 5:10] “For whoever will save his life shall lose it; but whoever shall lose his life for My sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it” [Mark 8:35]. Our blessing is that we get to experience the work of God while having a share in Christ’s kingdom, as well as His patience and His suffering. The suffering is precious and meaningful, since it brings us into a deeper understanding of the mind of God, His wisdom and His omnipotence.’
“Worried about the intensifying crackdown and fearing for our safety, Sister Ma Suoping encouraged us to split up and go into hiding. She also reminded us that, whatever might happen in the future, it was our duty to stand firm and be witnesses of God.
“On the day we were supposed to say goodbye, we covered up the window to ensure that no light could be seen outside. Even so, we were so worried that we only lit a small desk lamp when we sat down together. Before long, the hour hand of the clock was pointing to 3 in the morning, but the other two sisters and I were absorbed in our prayers, none of us willing to go to bed. Prayer was the only thing that could bring any peace to our fretful and anxious minds.
“The night seemed to drag on forever. The three of us gradually grew tired. We’d only been asleep a short time when the day broke. Our mood seemed to have affected the weather, since the sky was filled with dark clouds. The two other sisters looked as gloomy as I did. The three of us ate a hurried breakfast and set out, in the company of the sister who owned the house.”
Sister Xiao Bo took a sip of her tea and went on with her story.
“That was the last time I ever saw Sister Ma Suoping. Later, I heard she’d made several stops before reaching Hebei Province in May.”
This was where I picked up the thread of the story.
“She continued resolving the problems of churches after reaching Hebei Province. It was July when I met Sister Ma Suoping. It was the beginning of the monsoon, and the humidity was intense. We met at the house of some believers. It was a huge house, with a big yard and four massive guard dogs. As soon as Sister Ma Suoping saw me, she asked about the situation of the brothers and sisters. I told her as much as I knew—that many leaders and co-workers had been arrested in Hunan, Hubei, Sichuan, and Henan in early April and that many key leaders had been seized in Sichuan, Guizhou, and Yunnan in late April. I hadn’t heard much about what had happened in other areas.
“This news brought a grave expression to Sister Ma Suoping’s face, and she went into her room. Looking in, I realized that she was praying. After quite a while, she called the other people together for a meeting. She acknowledged that the situation didn’t look good but pleaded with us to never forget our belief in God. She told us to pray without ceasing and always keep close to God. For several days after that, nothing happened of importance. I helped Sister Ma Suoping organize her papers, and she arranged the church’s work and made assignments. During a meeting a few days after that, Sister Ma Suoping told us she’d had a dream that seemed to portend something: In the dream, storm clouds were blowing toward her. Once again, she told us that, even if we were arrested, we mustn’t follow in the footsteps of Judas by betraying the church or our brothers and sisters.
Caught in the police dragnet
“Sister Ma Suoping’s premonitions proved true. Around 2 pm on July 17th, a light rain was falling. After eating lunch and resting for a while, I got up and walked over to the window. Just then, I saw ten or so plainclothes officers climbing over the wall. Then they used their truncheons to bludgeon the four big dogs in the yard. The howling dogs were beaten to the ground in a bloody mess. The scene was so shocking that I stood there dumbfounded. Before I could even react, the officers had already reached the door.
“I finally came to my senses when I heard an officer say, ‘Hurry and catch them!’ I quickly bolted the door, but it was soon broken down. Inside the house, the officers pinned our arms behind our backs and frogmarched us into the living room, where they forced us to squat down. While I sat there, I saw a police officer drag Sister Ma Suoping over and subdue her.
“A police officer in his forties, about 170cm tall, was crowing triumphantly, gripping Sister Ma Suoping’s hair in his hand. ‘It’s this woman! I can recognize her even with makeup on!’ There were some twenty officers in the living room at this point. There was a hubbub of people shouting and camera flashbulbs going off. The police officers searched the entire house, leaving no stone unturned. Draping bedsheets over our heads, they transported us to a hostel in a military-controlled area in Tangshan City.
“According to witnesses at the scene of the arrest, forty or fifty police cars and other vehicles and several hundred police officers had taken part. Furthermore, armed officers had been posted 60 meters away from the entrance to the door, and the roads had been completely blocked in both directions.
“After we arrived at the hostel, the police took us to separate rooms to be questioned individually. My window was lined with steel bars, and the room felt creepy. Even though it was the middle of the summer, I felt a chill run down my spine. The police officers made us put on facility uniforms. Seeing the powerful men standing in front of me, I felt like a helpless lamb being led to slaughter. I thought that this was the end.
Brutal and heinous torture
“On my first day there, I was interrogated by police officers from the National Security Brigade from the Public Security Bureau in the city of Tangshan. In a self-assured and cocky tone of voice, one of them said, ‘We’ve already figured it all out. I’m talking about that woman called Youling, who was arrested with you. She’s been on the lam for several years now. She’s one of the main leaders in your church, her rank is equivalent to that of the leader of central government. Fact is, we’ve had our eyes on her for quite a while now.’
“For some reason, hearing this made me feel anxious. Most of the other leaders who’d been captured by the police had suffered cruel torture, and there was no way they’d go easy on Sister Ma Suoping. So I asked him, ‘Have we killed anyone? Did we set something on fire? Or maybe we committed theft? Did we rob someone? Why are you arresting us?’
“Another police officer broke in. ‘Murder? Arson? Those aren’t a big deal. Faith is a much more serious crime. This operation is under the direct supervision of the Ministry of Public Security. Over the past six months, we’ve mopped up the head honchos in your church in several provinces. And now we’ve nabbed the big prize, Youling! Belief in God? Not in China!’
“It was only then that I realized the police had tracked us to Tangshan by monitoring our mobile phones, waiting for the right moment to make their move. In the end, all our efforts to stay out of their grasp had been futile.
“This roundup had been overseen directly by the Ministry of Public Security, with officers from the police agencies in Henan Province, Hebei Province, and Tangshan City dispatched to carry out the arrests.
“The officers asked for the names of church leaders and where they were staying, as well as the location of the church assets that had been managed by Sister Ma Suoping. When I didn’t provide the information they wanted, they resorted to torture. Two men held me against the ground while others pinned my arms behind my back, grabbed my hair, and slammed my face into the ground. My head and arms hurt so badly I let out an involuntary scream. But they continued the torture, seemingly oblivious to whether I lived or died. After that, two other police officers came forward and harassed me in a variety of ways. They made me stand in a half squat with my arms in front of me, which I couldn’t endure for long. I fell over and couldn’t get up again.
“After that, a female police officer brought over a toothpick and jabbed it into my arm. I was wearing thin clothing for the summer, and the toothpick pierced my skin. Another officer mockingly said he would give me a massage and started painfully pinching my skin. The next day, my whole body was covered with bruises. Another officer mercilessly struck me in the cheek with a slipper, explaining that slapping me would just hurt his hand.
“The whole time the police were tormenting me like this, I kept hearing blood-curdling screams from the floor above me. I figured that one of us was being tortured there, and then it suddenly occurred to me it might be Sister Ma Suoping.
“When one of the police officers saw my expression, a wicked gleam appeared in his eyes. ‘Do you hear all that racket up there?’
“Those words confirmed my suspicion that the police were torturing one of the sisters.
“After several days of interrogation passed without any information emerging, the police began to browbeat and threaten me. ‘Everything so far has been just a taste of what we’re capable of. If you don’t start talking today, we’re going to go harder on you. Have you heard of the torture-rack or being waterboarded with a chili pepper solution? We have plenty of methods at our disposal. We’re going to gradually show you that there are things worse than death.’
“I was obviously aware of the ways that countless brothers and sisters had been tortured. Hearing those threats made me afraid I wouldn’t be able to endure the torture and might follow in the path of Judas. And so I made up my mind to bash my head against the wall, hoping that I might lose my memory, even if it didn’t kill me.
“When I asked to go to the bathroom, my captors let me go, without suspecting anything. Again and again, I banged my head against the wall, but I hardly felt any pain. I realized that pull off a suicide requires real courage. From outside, I heard the police getting irritated and yelling at me to hurry up. So after working up the courage, I slammed my head against the edge of the wall and swooned, blood gushing from my forehead. In my mental fog, I hoped I’d found a way out of my predicament, but then I caught the words of the head of the National Security Brigade. ‘Trying to kill herself, is she? That’s pointless. Continue the interrogation!’
“Later, the police set aside the torture and began trying to brainwash me.
“On July 19th, I got a visit from a government official from Henan who claimed to be arresting major leaders in the church. ‘I’ve spent more than ten years arresting people from your church. I’m the one who brought in some of your key leaders. Have you heard of Jiangu [the church name of He Zhexun]? I nabbed that guy myself. We mobilized the police in several provinces and offered a reward of 500,000 yuan to bring him in. We finally caught him on the roof of his apartment. He’s still behind bars now. Let me share a little secret about people in your church, and the main leaders in particular. I have secret documents guaranteeing that we won’t face any trouble even if we have to break some heads. What I’m saying is that you ought to cooperate with us. All you’ve got to do is tell us what you know. You’re not one of the leaders, so we won’t be hard on you.’
“After that, the official kept trying to indoctrinate me in the ideology of atheism and also said a lot of blasphemous things against God. At first, I tried to ignore him, but eventually I couldn’t stand it anymore and contradicted him. When it was obvious that the brainwashing had failed, the official lost his temper and stormed out of the room.
“While that official was interrogating me and trying to brainwash me, he didn’t make any mention of Sister Ma Suoping. Therefore, I had no way of knowing where she was or what had happened to her. But considering that the official had introduced himself as someone who was arresting and interrogating key leaders, I could only guess he’d interrogated Sister Ma Suoping as well.
“At the end of July, the police took me into custody in Gaocheng City, Hebei Province on the charge of disrupting the rule of law through a Xie Jiao organization.
“A month later, my family members managed to raise money and make connections to get me released on bail. I didn’t hear any news about Sister Ma Suoping after that and had no idea what had happened to her. They called that the July 17 Operation, and a large number of key leaders and co-workers were arrested in Shanxi Province and Hebei Province.”
After Sister Xiao Bo had heard my story, a sad expression came on her face. “You suffered that kind of persecution even though you were just an ordinary believer. I guess they were trying to make Sister Ma Suoping open her mouth one way or another, whom they regarded as a prominent figure in the church hierarchy. It’s awful just to imagine what kind of torture Sister Ma Suoping must have endured.”
After a moment’s silence, I spoke. “Sister Xiao Bo, what did you do after you parted ways with Sister Ma Suoping?”
Sister Xiao Bo collected her thoughts before speaking. “After leaving Sister Ma Suoping, I remained in Shanxi Province. I stayed at the house of an elderly sister in the church that few people were aware of. For several months, I couldn’t even go outside. It was frustrating and painful to hear almost every day that more brothers and sisters had been arrested. And I would always be woken up by nightmares in which I was constantly on the run from the police. When I woke up, my face was drenched with sweat. Basically, I was being worn down. In that situation, my only choice was to pray diligently. I couldn’t get to sleep if I didn’t pray.”
I took her hand and pressed it, to show my sympathy.
News of the death of Sister Ma Suoping
Sister Xiao Bo went on. “Sometime around July, I took shelter in another home. A local leader would come by to share news about the church. I heard news about the brothers and sisters being arrested and how they’d stood firm despite that. That’s also when I heard that Sister Xiaoqing had been arrested while hiding out in Xinzhou, Shanxi Province. Until that point, I hadn’t heard any news about Sister Ma Suoping. But that was even weirder and made me more nervous. I had a premonition that something was wrong. The government had really been out to get her, and I supposed that the police officers who’d been sent to arrest her would torture her to death. The only thing I could do was to pray to God to help her stand strong amid her trial.
“I spent several months like that. The weather started to cool down a bit when fall arrived. By that point, I couldn’t even remember how many houses I’d stayed at. At any rate, the house I was at just then was very chilly, without any natural light. We always left the house dark and cold, because we were concerned that turning on the lights would give us away. Nearly every day for several months I’d heard that brothers and sisters were being arrested. I was told that a lot of the important leaders and co-workers in Shanxi Province had been arrested in July, with just a few sermon givers managing to escape somewhat safer.
“In August, the Chinese Communist Party’s crackdown extended to Shandong, Zhejiang, and Fujian provinces, and nearly all the key leaders and co-workers in each region were brought in. Both church leaders and ordinary believers were caught in the dragnet. Because of the constant tension and stress and my poor living arrangements, I started having trouble breathing. But despite that insane level of persecution and oppression, many brothers and sisters stood firm and kept the faith, buoyed by their prayers and the word of God.
“One day, a church leader came by to update me on the situation in the church. I could tell that she was holding back on something. Since I’d been trying to find out about Sister Ma Suoping’s situation, I kept pushing her for information. At last, the leader broke down and told me the truth. But first, she told me not to get too disheartened about what she was about to say. Hearing that, I instinctively knew this had something to do with Sister Ma Suoping. In a trembling voice, I asked if that was the case. “‘That’s right,’ the sister told me. ‘On July 17th of this year , Sister Ma Suoping was arrested in Tangshan, Hebei Province. Then she was killed on July 22nd. The police bureau apparently didn’t inform her family members of her death until July 24th. When her husband went to identify the body, the police stanchly denied beating her, despite obvious signs of that. They also claimed that she’d been arrested by herself on July 21st and transported to Zhengzhou at 5 pm on July 22nd, where she died of a sudden heart attack around 6 o’clock. The wounds on her body, the police said, had been inflicted after her death.’
“For a long time, I couldn’t say anything. Her death had come only five days after her arrest. I’d had an inkling that something would happen to her, but actually hearing the news made me extremely angry and sad.”
I’d also been extremely sad when I heard the news that Sister Ma Suoping had lost her life in the persecution. Such a diligent minister in the church had been brutally killed by the Chinese Communist Party simply because she believed in God and had served Him. The Chinese Communists were truly diabolical.
Even so, part of me felt proud of Sister Ma Suoping when I heard that she’d been a true model for the faith by standing firm and not bowing to the wicked forces of Satan. Her body may have died, but her spirit lives on with God. Ten years have passed since then, but the facts of her unjust death have never been brought to life.
Furthermore, the people who were arrested and given prison sentences back then are still doing time, and the Chinese government is still oppressing religion. These are facts that those of us who are still alive must face. Sister Ma Suoping’s story encouraged me. I resolved that, if I’m ever arrested, I too will stand firm, without betraying God as Judas did.
Unknowingly, night fell. The journalist called us, apologizing to us again and again, and wanting to meet with us on the next day’s morning. We happily agreed.
After parting ways with Sister Xiao Bo, my heart couldn’t calm down for a long time. My mind conjured up images of the CCP’s persecution in 2009. Sister Ma Suoping’s death, many brothers and sisters being imprisoned, and even more brothers and sisters living their lives on the run like Xiao Bo and I, unable to return home, these scenes engraved on my heart, becoming memories that could not be erased. However, because of these persecutions and tribulations, I was able to clearly see the atheistic CCP’s essence of being enemies of God, gain discernment, and become even more certain that believing in God is the correct path in life.
Today, the Chinese Communist Party is still perpetrating its brutality throughout the country, cruelly persecuting and oppressing Christians every day. In the Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx, the founder of Communism, said that his ideology would wipe out all eternal truth and erase all religions and ethical systems. Furthermore, internal documents produced by the Chinese Communist Party state that “religion is the opium of the people” and demand “resolution in the fight against religion, in order to free the masses from their shackles and to weaken religion and eventually eradicate it.”
The Chinese government has called for “a heavy-handed stance” to be taken against the Christian church, for Christians to be “detained whenever they are discovered” and for “the leaders of the church to be harshly punished.” The central government has also given strict orders that members of The Church of Almighty God be “killed or imprisoned, as necessary,” and that those efforts “not stop until they’re annihilated.”
Since 2018, the Chinese authorities have been bulldozing various religious buildings around the country, including cathedrals, churches, temples, and mosques, and forcing those in monastic orders to return to a secular life, all in pursuit of their wicked goal of eradicating religion. They’re also arresting and brainwashing Christians. But as the Chinese Communists battle against God and persecute Christians, their true identity as Satan and demons becomes only more apparent. As a result, more and more people are waking up to the diabolical nature of the Chinese Communists. In this way, they pray and call on God more fervently and move closer to His salvation. Ultimately, this is causing the gospel to spread across China and leading more people to follow God every day.
Trials reveal people’s true feelings, and adversity produces true witnesses. The Chinese Communist Party is trying to force Christians to abandon their faith by arresting them, torturing them, putting them in prison, and even maiming and killing them. But despite these circumstances, many people have stood firm and borne witness to God. Regardless of the torments they faced, they’ve never given up their belief, just as it was prophesied in the Book of Revelation: “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” [Revelation 7:14]. “These are they which follow the Lamb wherever He goes” [Revelation 14:4]. “They loved not their lives to the death” [Revelation 12:11]. Are they not the ones who have come out of the great tribulation? Are they not the overcomers?
February 2019 Seoul, South Korea
*About the author: Despite being a member of The Church of Almighty God, Sister Lin Lin was fortunate enough to survive the persecution of the Chinese government in 2009. She was arrested along with Sister Ma Suoping, who was killed just five days later, much to Sister Lin Lin’s sorrow. She wrote this essay on the tenth anniversary of Sister Ma Suoping’s death, in honor of her memory and to rebuke the CCP’s violence against Christians.