Being a Religious Refugee Due to the CCP’s Persecution

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Li Chuansong

Good afternoon, everyone! I am Li Chuansong, a Christian of the Church of Almighty God from China. Today I’m standing here to share my story of being persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party. I can feel the excitement inside me at the moment.

In China, belief in God is accompanied by the danger of death. There is a risk of being arrested at any time due to the government’s persecution. Many brothers and sisters were arrested and sentenced to jail when they preached the gospel. On June 1, 2005, I was on my way home after preaching the gospel when suddenly three CCP cops arrested me and sent me to the police station of Hunchun city.

To force me to tell them the information about the Church, they whipped me hard and yelled at me, “For believers in God like you, even if we beat you to death, we will not be held responsible!” I was beaten so badly that I was unable to take care of myself, and could not walk to the bathroom without other prisoners’ help. A dozen days later, the police captain came to interrogate me. He asked me to identify Church members based on the photos on the computer, but I refused to do so. A young policeman grabbed my hair, forced me down to the ground, and kicked me fiercely in my waist. Then they handcuffed me, and asked me squat and hold my arms out even with my shoulders. At the same time, they pressed a burning cigarette butt against my wrist, saying, “How funny! It sounds like grilling meat….” The pain was so unbearable that my heart seemed to come out of my chest. Seeing that they took pleasure in tormenting me, I was very angry and also felt very miserable. I thought to myself, “Don’t you have mothers? How could you treat believers in God so cruelly?” When they saw that I still kept silent, they stomped on my feet with the heels of their leather shoes. The second and third toe of my left foot were fractured, and I was in so much pain that I broke out into a cold sweat, biting my lips to the point it bled. A policeman then pulled me back up from the floor and hit my left femur violently with his knees. My femur head collapsed subsequently and I was unable to walk anymore. I could only move forward with my hands, dragging my feet along.

The following day, I still said nothing. A policeman said, “Even if you won’t tell us anything, we still have another trick up our sleeve! You’ll confess everything once we give you an injection.” His words made me scared. If they gave me an injection, my brain would be out of control, and I might tell them all the information about the Church, and my brothers and sisters would be implicated. So I wanted to bite my tongue off. As I bit my tongue with force, blood instantly came out and filled my mouth. As a result, my tongue became so swollen that it firmly pressed against my upper jaw, and I could not open my mouth. The policemen saw that I was unable to speak, so they did not give me an injection.

On the third day, I still said nothing, and the captain said furiously, “Let me tell you, we are from the Criminal Division, so even if we beat people to death, we won’t be breaking the law.” After saying these words, the captain forcefully broke my left arm. Then he covered my head with a black plastic bag, and hit my head violently with something hard, and I soon lost my sensation. When I recovered consciousness, I found myself lying in blood. My hair and my body were covered with blood, and there was a large pool of blood on the floor. Despite losing so much blood, I did not die. That made me see God’s almightiness and sovereignty. When I suffered the CCP’s torture, I was weak in my heart, and I almost lost the faith to live on. It was through the strength given by God that I survived the CCP’s cruel torture.

Later, I was sentenced to one year of re-education through labor. I was detained at Hunchun Detention Center for more than 80 days. Because of my bad health condition, I served my sentence outside of prison for 9 months. When I was released upon completion of my sentence, the police warned me not to believe in God or preach the gospel anymore, otherwise they would arrest me again and give me a more harsh sentence. To escape from the CCP’s arrest, once again, I started to flee everywhere.

Experiencing the persecution by the Chinese Communist government, I thought of Almighty God’s words, “Religious freedom? The legitimate rights and interests of citizens? They are all tricks for covering up sin! … Where is the true freedom and legitimate rights and interests? Where is the fairness?” To maintain its dictatorial rule, and build China into an atheist region, the Chinese Communist government uses every excuse to repress, persecute and abolish religious movements and social communities, once they have reached a certain size. The Chinese government deceives the world with a facade of freedom of religious belief, but deprives people of the right of freedom of belief, enslaving people under its power, trampling and persecuting them willfully, and there is even no way for them to voice their grievances. As Christians, our dignity has been offended, our human rights are infringed, we suffer from persecution both physically and psychologically, and our lives are in danger. When can we believe in God freely?

Since 2012, the CCP government uses various media to manipulate public opinions, encourages the populace to report believers in God, and wantonly arrests and persecutes the Christians of the Church of Almighty God. Under these horrific circumstances, I had no place to hide in China. Wherever I went, there was a risk of being arrested again and even losing my life. In June 2013, with the help of Chen, I applied for my tourist visa and came to South Korea to seek asylum. However, Chen was arrested by the Chinese police when returning to China in late June. Copies of my ID card and passport, etc. were searched out, and my personal information was obtained by the CCP.

In late August 2013, a friend of mine from my hometown told me that on August 20 that year, four policemen went to my home to capture me. They said to my ex-husband, “She will surely be sentenced to life imprisonment once she is caught.”

In January 2016, my daughter, who was in South Korea, received a phone call from her father, saying that several policemen found him and declared, “There is enough evidence to sentence your ex-wife to life imprisonment. She’ll be arrested once she gets off the plane. You must report her to us if she comes back!” I was greatly shocked by the news. Because of the Chinese government’s persecution, my family was torn apart and I cannot return home. Now that I am abroad, it still does not cease to hunt and persecute me.
On July 21, 2013, I submitted my application of refugee status to the Ministry of Justice of South Korea, stating the fact of the persecution due to my belief in God, attaching photos of my scars and copies of some CCP documents, etc. But later, I got the Notice on Non-Recognition of Refugee Status and the rejection decision. So I filed appeals to the Seoul Administrative Court, the Seoul High Court, and the Supreme Court of Korea. In June 2016, the Supreme Court found against me. The repeated appeals and rejections have left me nothing but disappointment and helplessness.

In September 2016, Religion&Truth, a monthly magazine which has a close relationship with the CCP, released to the public detailed personal information of 74 Christians of the Church of Almighty God, including their real name, gender, ethnicity and detailed home address in Mainland China. Photos of 34 members were attached, most of which were obtained from their passports. My personal information was also publicized. When I thought about how the CCP police had made several attempts to arrest me in my home and also revealed my personal information to the public, I was very afraid that they would do something in the future to continue their persecution.

On January 24, 2017, the Immigration Office took away my Alien Card, which put me at the risk of being deported back to China at any time. In fact, there are many brothers and sisters from our Church who face the same problem. If we are deported, we will be in danger of being arrested and imprisoned and even persecuted to death. I hope more human rights organizations and righteous activists can give heed to the facts of the persecution suffered by members of the Church of Almighty God, and condemn the CCP’s persecution of religious beliefs. I also hope the government of South Korea can grant the Christians of the Church of Almighty God refugee status or stay permit based on humanitarian reasons. Thank you!