Cheng Xiangyu, female, born on February 19, 1965, lived in Huangshi Village, Beiyicheng Town, Zezhou County of Jincheng City, Shanxi Province. She joined The Church of Almighty God in 2012. In November 2018, she was arrested by CCP police for engaging in legitimate faith-related activities. She became ill while detained, which the police disregarded; the combination of the extremely poor meals and her treatment being delayed two months led to a dramatic worsening of her condition. She passed away in January 2019 at the age of just 54 years old. Cheng Xiangyu’s experience of persecution to death by the CCP is below.
Deep in the night of November 15, 2018, several officers with the Jincheng City Public Security Bureau, Gaoping City National Security Brigade and the local police station burst into a rented home in Gaoping City and arrested Cheng Xiangyu. They found and took a portion of her religious literature as well as several computers. The following day they transferred her to the Jincheng Detention Center.
Another Christian detained along with her revealed that a few days after being put into the detention center, Cheng Xiangyu developed a fever. Others in her same cell repeatedly told the correctional officers about her condition, who just gave her some random medication to perfunctorily deal with the situation; the medicine didn’t appear to have any effect. Her condition grew worse by the day, with her legs and feet becoming more and more swollen, and when using the toilet she could only squat halfway down with great effort. The meals available in the detention center were of very poor quality, mostly consisting of cold steamed bread. Cheng Xiangyu would always vomit nonstop after eating. Prisoners generally were not allowed to lie down in the detention center and the police even arranged for monitoring within the jail, so no matter how much discomfort Cheng Xiangyu was experiencing day-to-day, she had to force herself to stay sitting up. As a result of the combination of an illness left untreated for a long time, poor nutrition, and inadequate rest, Cheng Xiangyu’s health deteriorated further and further. She struggled to walk and became unable to lift her clothing when washing it; she had to enlist the help of another Christian in the same cell with her.
In mid-December, the other prisoners became concerned that Cheng Xiangyu’s life was in danger and once again reported her condition, but the correctional officer paid no mind at all, saying unconcernedly, “It’s fine, she won’t die.”
At approximately 6 p.m. on January 11, 2019, two officers with the Gaoping City Public Security Bureau transferred Cheng Xiangyu to the Gaoping Education and Conversion Center to forcefully brainwash and convert her. By that time she was already jaundiced and emaciated, spoke weakly with difficulty, could not stand steadily, and needed someone to support her while walking.
On the 12th, Cheng Xiangyu’s medical condition grew more serious. She couldn’t get out of bed, eat, talk, or even relieve herself. Only at that point did the police call her family to inform them of the situation.
The morning of the 13th, concerned that she would die and they would be held responsible, the police had no choice but to take Cheng Xiangyu to the Jincheng Mining Bureau Hospital. At around 3 p.m. that same day, Cheng Xiangyu died after emergency medical measures were ineffective.
Cheng Xiangyu’s family members were devastated when they learned that she had been tortured to the point of death. Furious, they asked the police officers, “What law did she break that you wouldn’t provide her with medical treatment? Why didn’t you notify us earlier? This is because you delayed getting her treatment, otherwise, she wouldn’t have died!” When pleading their case, the police lied, claiming that she had been pretending to be ill the entire time. They thus evaded all responsibility.
After the fact, out of fear that the family would sue them, the Gaoping City Public Security Bureau gave Cheng Xiangyu’s family over 200,000 RMB of hush money under the guise of “bereavement funds.” The family was warned and threatened not to reopen the case, or they would know no peace and even their children would be influenced. Poor and Powerless, they were left with absolutely no recourse, but could only swallow their anger and take Cheng Xiangyu’s remains home for burial.