The Chinese government is intensifying its crackdown on the Church of Almighty God, according to so-called secret documents obtained by the underground religious movement which claims that the Chinese Communist Party wants to close and destroy its meeting places, arrest its leaders, and seize church funds.
Established in the early 1990s, the Church of Almighty God is thought to have 4-5 million followers.
The online magazine Bitter Winter, which tracks rights abuses in China, says the Church of Almighty God has become the main target of China’s ongoing persecution of religious believers.
Other rights groups, including Human Rights Without Frontiers, a Brussels-based organisation, have also expressed their concerns about the treatment of the Church of Almighty God by China’s hardline Communist authorities.
The Chinese government’s crackdown on the Church of Almighty God will be “further intensified” in 2019, a directive that has come down from Chinese President Xi Jinping.
In a document, seen by New Europe, the Communist Party alleges that “secret forces” are at work in the Church of Almighty God, which they describe as undercover agents or spies that are tasked with infiltrating the Church of Almighty God to gather information about the Chinese government.
Beijing is reportedly surveying the Church of Almighty God’s online activities, while a Financial Investigations Brigade is said to be responsible for “tracing funds connected to the church. An Entry and Exit Administrative Department provides information on travel documentation and entry-exit data for all Church of Almighty God members.
A so-called Supervisory Brigade has been charged carrying out a re-education programme aimed at Church of Almighty God members who are currently in jail or held in detention centres.
“The Chinese Communist Party not only persecutes Christians in mainland China but is sparing no effort to mobilise units to carry out comprehensive monitoring and investigations on Church of Almighty God members. Another wave of frenzied arrests and persecution will befall every Christian in China, which means the persecution will get even worse than that in the previous years,” a Church of Almighty God spokesman told New Europe.