Dear Mr. President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron:
Please accept our most respectful greetings.
We are a group of 442 Christians of The Church of Almighty God (CAG) from China. Because of the repression of the Chinese Communist government, we have been forced to flee China and seek political asylum in France. Unfortunately, at present, 335 of us have had our applications rejected, and 156 have already received the removal orders, facing the risk of being sent back to China at any time. Having reached a dead end, we write this letter to you with a heavy heart. We urge you to consider the great danger to our lives.
We learn that you attach great importance to human rights, and we believe that you have a clear understanding of the human rights violations in China. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is an atheist revolutionary party. Since it came to power in mainland China, the CCP has labeled Christianity and Catholicism as “cults” and the Bible a cultist book, and they confiscated and burned countless copies of the Bible. Moreover, under the pretext of “crackdown on cults,” they have subjected religious groups to a large-scale persecution.
Since its establishment in 1991, The Church of Almighty God has been one of the most severely persecuted house churches in China. According to incomplete statistics, between 2011 and 2013, 380,380 Christians of The Church of Almighty God were arrested, detained and sentenced. Of these Christians, 43,640 were subjected to various methods of torture at the hands of clandestine courts and 13 were persecuted to death. At least 500,000 Christians have been forced to leave their homes behind. On June 16, 2014, the CCP launched the “Hundred Days Battle” to completely repress The Church of Almighty God across the country. From then on, the persecution has been growing worse.
In mainland China, we have no way out and nowhere to hide, so we have to take refuge in France. During these few years in France, we have respected your laws, and, while persevering in our spiritual beliefs, we have made sustained efforts to study French and actively participate in activities of the local communities. We do our best to contribute to French people and society.
However, since our applications for asylum were denied, we have been living in fear of being deported. On January 10, 2018, two Christians of our Church were arrested near a metro exit, following an identity check and the failure to produce a valid residence permit. They were sent to a detention center and were almost deported from French territory. During this period, their lawyer pleaded three times for their release; French pastors and priests testified that they were persecuted in China, and that they could not return to their country. Nevertheless, the police and judges persisted to enforce the decision of their deportation. After 45 days, the maximum detention period, they were released. At the time of their release, the Police Prefecture issued a “removal order” again, and demanded that they leave France voluntarily. During these 45 days, we prayed for them every day, we were all afraid for our own safety, and many of us dared not leave our home for fear of the identity check and repatriation. When we absolutely had to go out, we were full of anxiety. Our daily life was severely constrained.
In 2015, the CCP issued a document about the implementation of a detailed analysis of the data on the Chinese people who have left the territory, in order to master every detail regarding the exiled Christians from The Church of Almighty God. In addition, at the beginning of 2017, on the Chinese mainland, the Chinese Communist government conducted dragnet inspections to identify all the members of The Church of Almighty God, and established databases on us, in order to make mass arrests. It is learned that, among the overseas Christians in our church going back to China, in 2017 alone, five Christians from South Korea were arrested; one Christian from Switzerland was also arrested; most of them are still unaccounted for, without any information about whether they are alive or dead. It means that, once we are deported to China, we will face imprisonment and even death.
Thus, we come to you with this letter to seek your help, to plead with you and the French government to consider the dangers that we will face if we go back to China, rescind the removal orders, and grant us humanitarian protection, so that we can stay here legally and flee persecution. We would be sincerely grateful to you.
We pray that God will protect you and your family, that He will protect France.
The Christians of The Church of Almighty God in France
March 9, 2018