REPORT – PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS IN CHINA 🇨🇳

 “2023 Annual Report on the CCP’s Persecution
of The Church of Almighty God”
A Comprehensive Summary

The Church of Almighty God (CAG) released its 2023 annual report, alleging a significant escalation in persecution by the Chinese government. The report details a surge in arrests, harsher sentences, and continued human rights violations against CAG members in 2023.

Statistic summary of the report

Key findings of the report:

  • Drastic increase in arrests: The report claims at least 12,463 CAG members were arrested in 2023, marking a record high since the CAG began publishing annual reports in 2017. This represents a concerning trend of intensified crackdown by Chinese authorities.
  • Harsher sentencing and longer prison terms: The report alleges that 2,207 CAG members were sentenced to prison in 2023, with an average sentence length increasing by 26% for four consecutive years. Notably, 1,094 members received sentences of three years or more, and 124 faced sentences exceeding seven years. The report highlights the case of a 77-year-old believer sentenced to seven and a half years solely for hosting gatherings, demonstrating the severity of punishments.
  • Allegations of torture and deaths: The report raises grave concerns about the treatment of CAG members in custody, alleging that 20 individuals were persecuted to death in 2023 and many others subjected to torture.
  • Targeted surveillance and advanced technology: The report claims the CCP utilizes sophisticated technology like facial recognition and camera networks to extensively monitor and track CAG members for extended periods before mass arrests. The report cites specific examples, such as the arrest of over 1,000 CAG members in Zhejiang Province after two years of surveillance.
  • Disproportionate persecution in Xinjiang: The report emphasizes the plight of CAG Christians in Xinjiang, alleging they face particularly harsh persecution akin to that experienced by the Uyghur population. The report claims that nearly all CAG members in certain areas of Xinjiang have been arrested, and many have lost contact with their families.
  • Long-standing pattern of persecution: The report underscores the extensive history of alleged persecution against the CAG, claiming that nearly 460,000 members have been arrested since 1991, with at least 258 deaths. This highlights the systematic nature of the crackdown and its devastating impact on the CAG community.
  • Limited access to information: The report acknowledges the challenges in obtaining comprehensive data due to the CCP’s intensifying crackdown on CAG Christians. The report relies on over 20,000 collected cases and official CCP documents to present its findings.

Why this report is significant:

  • Documenting alleged persecution: The report serves as a record of the alleged human rights violations and religious persecution faced by CAG members in China.
  • Raising awareness: The report aims to bring international attention to the concerning situation of religious freedom in China and garner support for the CAG community.
  • Providing evidence: The report seeks to present documented evidence of the CCP’s alleged crackdown on religious groups, potentially contributing to efforts to hold China accountable for its human rights record.


    YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THE FULL REPORT HERE (PDF)


The following article has been published  by Dr. Massimo Introvigne in Bitter Winter (02/10/2024). Dr. Introvigne has been covering  the persecution of religious minorities in China since numerous years.

China, Number of Arrested Church of Almighty God Members
Hit Record High in 2023

The “2023 Annual Report on the Chinese Communist Government’s Persecution of The Church of Almighty God” is essential reading to understand religious repression in China.

by Massimo Introvigne 

The number of Church of Almighty God (CAG) members arrested and sentenced in China has reached a record high in 2023. This is the main finding of the “2023 Annual Report on the Chinese Communist Government’s Persecution of The Church of Almighty God,” released on February 7, 2024. Readers of “Bitter Winter” are now familiar with these yearly documents.  We have also explained in previous years the reasons why, while acknowledging that this information comes from the persecuted group itself, we regard it as believable. Although China maintains the largest data base in the world of legal decisions, it is no longer accessible to those outside the Chinese legal system. When it was, however, its data included hundreds of court sentences rendered every year against CAG members. Chinese media and anti-cult organizations continue to publish monthly, if not weekly, news about CAG members who receive heavy jail penalties. In fact, contrary to what some anti-cult opponents have argued, the main source of information about the persecution of the CAG is not “Bitter Winter” nor the CAG itself; it is the Chinese government.

The report reminds us that “since the nationwide lifting of COVID-19 restrictions at the beginning of the year, the CCP has launched a nationwide ‘Zero CAG Member’ campaign.” The numbers are impressive. “According to incomplete statistics, at least 12,463 CAG members were arrested in 2023, of whom 5,832 were subjected to various methods of torture” (or forced indoctrination), “at least 20 CAG Christians were persecuted to death; at least 2,207 members were sentenced to prison, of whom 1,094 were sentenced to three years or more, and 124 were sentenced to seven years or more. The longest known sentence in 2023 is twelve years and six months. These arrest and sentence figures have reached a record high since the CAG published its first annual report in 2017.”

The cover page of the report.
The cover page of the report.

“Especially since the CCP government issued the revised Regulations on Religious Affairs in 2018, which comprehensively increased the persecution of religion, the number of arrests and sentences of CAG members has continued to rise. In 2023, the number of arrests was four times that of 2017, the number of the sentenced was 13 times that of 2017, and the number of church members harshly sentenced to seven years or more was 9.5 times that of 2017. Since the establishment of the Church, 257 CAG Christians have been persecuted to death. According to incomplete statistics, from 2011 to 2023, nearly 460,000 CAG Christians have been arrested by the CCP authorities.” “Since September 2020, when the CCP launched a three-year ‘Final Solution’ to ‘completely destroy’ the CAG, the number of arrests of CAG Christians has exceeded 10,000 per year for three consecutive years.” “These figures are just the tip of the iceberg of the real situation,” according to the report, since the censorship leaves many cases unreported.

Number of arrests of CAG members from 2019 (when the first annual report was released) to 2023.
Number of arrests of CAG members from 2019 (when the first annual report was released) to 2023.

There are reasons why the number of arrests grew. “During the past years, the CCP has taken advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to vigorously develop a nationwide network of camera surveillance, enabling zero blind spots in both urban and rural areas. By using facial recognition and other big data technologies, the CCP has taken comprehensive control over personal information, turning China into an unprecedented digital national prison. This has created conditions for the CCP to conduct long-term surveillance and mass arrests of CAG Christians. The CCP uses the Skynet surveillance system, phone wiretapping, drone tracking and photography, electric bicycle tracking devices, and cameras installed near homes to track and secretly film CAG Christians. Wherever they go and whoever they come into contact with, CAG Christians become targets of CCP surveillance.”

Church of Almighty God members gather in a cave to escape surveillance (by an anonymous CAG artist).
Church of Almighty God members gather in a cave to escape surveillance (by an anonymous CAG artist).

Reports of torture continue to be widespread. To compel CAG members to sign statements where they renounce their faith and to denounce co-religionists, “the CCP police use torture such as ‘Exhausting an Eagle’ (sleep deprivation), suspending with wrists handcuffed, electric shock, and beatings. Some CAG members have been forced to stand or sit on plastic stools as punishment for up to 19–21 hours a day, and have also been subjected to force feeding of unknown drugs, and even forced to eat feces.”

Several disturbing examples are offered in the report. In Hebei, a female devotee was left without food for three days, and the guards compelled her “to stand for 16 hours a day for about 40 days, causing her feet to swell so severely that she could no longer wear socks. Subsequently, the guards continued to torture her for over two months by ordering her to stand with a piece of white paper clamped between her lower legs and under her arms, ranging from half a day to 12 hours daily. In March 2022, she was dealt with harshly again for refusing to write ‘There is no God’ in her thought reports. She was forced to work for 12 to 13 hours daily while standing and to be on duty for two and a half to four and a half hours at night. Her bedding was confiscated, she was forbidden from washing, and her daily necessities and food were withheld. She was only given a quarter of a bun and half a cup of water (300ml) per meal. The guards also incited other prisoners to beat her daily, demanding information about her faith. Her inmates brutally slapped her face with slippers, kicked the insides of her thighs after taking a run-up, and kneed her private parts, causing her to scream in agony and feel like she was about to suffocate. As a result, her legs turned deep purple-black like eggplants, and the left side of her private parts still hurts to this day. Her inmates also forcefully stuffed a toilet-cleaning towel into her throat and punched her until her mouth bled.” Although released, the damage to her health is permanent.

Two tragic stories of torture come from Jiangsu. A female devotee “under 18 was beaten by the police, with wrists handcuffed behind her back, suspended in the air by a wooden stick, mouth sealed with transparent tape, a lit cigarette inserted into her nose, and then dangled from the hanging handcuffs attached to the window.” A 52-year-old woman “was secretly held in an underground transformation center. After trying to escape, she was chased to the rooftop of a nine-story building. She died tragically after jumping off the building.” While the report classified 19 cases in 2023 as instances of “persecution to death,” it is probable that the number of those who died under torture, with relatives told that they had “a heart attack” or “committed suicide,” was in fact much higher.

A CAG member is arrested (by an anonymous CAG artist).
A CAG member is arrested (by an anonymous CAG artist).

A particularly interesting part of the report deals with Xinjiang. Because of the stricter censorship there, data about Xinjiang are not included in the tables counting those arrested and sentenced. However, the CAG has a significant presence in Xinjiang and its members “have been listed as national security threats along with Uyghurs and strictly confined in prisons, re-education camps, and drug rehabilitation centers,” as well as psychiatric hospitals. Although statistics are missing, the authors of the report have been able to ascertain that among the CAG members presently detained in Xinjiang, “17 were sentenced to 10 years or more, including two with 15-year sentences, and 73 were sentenced to five years or more, with an average sentence of seven years.”

See Also

The report also notes that the situation is not easy for CAG members who have been released from jail either. To force them to abandon their faith, they are denied “the right to employment, education for their children, basic living allowances.” The authorities are “refusing to issue them any official documents, and banning them from leaving the country.” CAG devotees “are unable to normally live, work, get married, have children, seek medical care, or travel,” and the persecution also affects the elderly and the disabled as well as the youth.

The conclusion of the report is political, connects the brutal repression with Communist ideology, and expresses the perception of the persecution by CAG members themselves. But its assessment of the religious situation in China is accurate and the appeal sincere. “Under the CCP’s rule, the entire country is under multiple layers of surveillance and supervision, making it impossible for CAG Christians to engage in normal religious activities. They are forced to flee from place to place, with nowhere to hide or live, making survival even more difficult. Even fleeing overseas does not shield them from the CCP’s pursuit as they face the risk of being extradited back to China…. CAG members have no choice but to risk their lives to bring to light the truth of how they have been persecuted and related data and information, hoping to get help from the international community and human rights organizations.” We can only hope that their appeal will be heard by many.


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See also the 14 interviews of persecuted Chinese christian refugees on our FOREF YouTube Channel


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  • The Hoax:False Demonstrations Against Chinese Refugees in Seoul, South Korea

The Hoax, the first movie produced by Bitter Winter. Directed by Massimo Introvigne, the movie introduces The Church of Almighty God and its persecution in China, and tells the story how the CCP, with the help of Christian anti-cultists, did not leave alone the refugees even after they arrived in Korea and organized false “spontaneous” street demonstrations against them. The truth about these incidents, carefully planned by the CCP several weeks in advance, is revealed in the movie


On September 2–4, 2018, Austrian journalist Peter Zoehrer was an eyewitness to false “spontaneous demonstrations” staged by the CCP and Korean anti-cultists against asylum seekers of The Church of Almighty God in Seoul. He tells the whole story to Bitter Winter.


On August 31, 2018, agents assigned by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) organized some relatives of Christians from The Church of Almighty God (CAG) who had fled to South Korea from China, to hold a press conference at the Jeju Parliament under the pretext of “seeking for relatives.” They strongly requested the Korean authorities to deport the displaced Christians back to China. Between September 1 and September 4, Ms. O (吴某, Ms. Wu), a pro-Chinese Korean activist, recruited professional demonstrators along with some relatives of CAG Christians to stage false “spontaneous” demonstrations respectively at the CAG communities in Seoul and Chungcheongbuk-do, and before the Blue House, the executive office of the President of South Korea. During the demonstrations, Mr. Peter Zoehrer, an Austrian reporter and the executive director of the Forum for Religious Freedom Europe (FOREF Europe), was one of the witnesses on site. He witnessed the hateful representations of the self-styled demonstrators, and had interviews with some CAG Christians who are in South Korea. He stated that the CAG has been subjected to persecution in China, and that CAG members had fled to South Korea and sought asylum there for religious freedom. He also pointed out that it is the Chinese Communist Party that had disrupted their families, while The Church of Almighty God had not been responsible for family disruption. Please join us for the footage of his interviews.


Watch the exclusive documentary on the Chinese labour camps. Currently, over 4 million people are subjected to forced labour in over 1000 camps. Harry Wu has survived such a sentence for over 20 years. After fleeing to the USA, he decided to document the life and treatment of prisoners in Laogai, the Chinese version of Gulags. Over the years he has managed to establish a Laogai museum in the USA with rare video footage and pictures.

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