Zhang Suzhen (pseudonym Afei), female, was born on November 12, 1968 and lived in Ningbo City, Zhejiang Province; she joined The Church of Almighty God (CAG) in 2002. She had worked as a church leader and was seen as a “provincial-level leader” by the Chinese authorities and was listed as a nationwide target for arrest.
Zhang Suzhen was arrested by local Ningbo police officers twice in December 2012 for spreading the gospel and was held in detention on the charge of “illegal participation in a xie jiao organization and disrupting social order.” After her release, the police called her a number of times to inquire about her whereabouts and warned her not to continue practicing her faith or sharing the gospel, or else she would face criminal sentencing.
On March 28, 2013, Zhang Suzhen learned from a neighbor that an arrest list with her name on it had been sent to the community; she had no choice but to flee her home. After that the local police went to her home a number of times to question her husband on her faith; they also threatened and frightened him, saying, “If we get our hands on Zhang Suzhen, she’ll be in prison for years!” Her husband could no longer bear the police’s long-term harassment, threats, and intimidation. He asked for a divorce in 2015.
In August 2017, the local town government found the head of the village where Zhang Suzhen lived to inquire about her whereabouts and installed a security camera at the entrance to her mother’s home. In September, the local county government official convened a meeting of village cadres and openly announced that Zhang Suzhen was a senior leader with The Church of Almighty God, inciting the masses to report her for a reward.
In September 2018, the Zhejiang Province Public Security Department carried out a coordinated arrest operation against Christians with The Church of Almighty God resulting in the arrests of many Christians in Ningbo, a city in that province. One time Zhang Suzhen had to ride her bicycle about 30 kilometers in order to avoid arrest by the police, which was very difficult for her—she escaped to her rented room where she could hide herself inside. Once there she felt nauseous and fatigued and generally unwell. Over the next few days she experienced frequent mouth dryness, her vision gradually became blurrier, and she lost a lot of weight.
On October 12, Zhang Suzhen went into a clinic for an exam which showed elevated blood glucose at 13 mmol/L (normal levels are between 3.9 and 6.1 mmol/L). However, since there are security cameras on the outside and inside of all hospitals and getting treatment requires registration with real name, as a main target for arrest by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Zhang Suzhen didn’t dare go to a hospital for treatment. Her condition worsened dramatically—her face became very pale, she wasn’t able to speak clearly, and her limbs grew cold.
The evening of the 18th, Zhang Suzhen tested her blood glucose several times and got a result each time of H1 (it was so high that it was out of the blood glucose meter’s detectable range; most meters can detect blood glucose up to 33.3 mmol/L) and blood pressure of 50-70 mmHg. The afternoon of the 19th, she passed away in her rented room at the age of just 50 because she had been unable to seek treatment.
Zhang Suzhen had a beautiful, happy family, but it was destroyed and she died due to the CCP’s relentless pursuit and persecution for years on end. While she was still alive, she once said, “For the last five years the CCP has been relentlessly pursuing me so that I haven’t been able to return home, my husband has divorced me, I can’t do my filial duty for my parents, and I can’t fulfill my responsibilities to my son as his mother. I won’t even be able to go home for my father’s funerals. Such a wonderful family has been forced into ruin by the CCP. They say there’s freedom of belief but it’s nothing but lies!”