06/22/2017, 13.50
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Protestant Christians jailed to confess membership in an "evil cult"

Fengle is a house church in Jiangmen, but the government treats it as an "evil cult". Police seized bibles and arrested and interrogated some members. However, “the biggest cult is hidden in plain view: the Communist Party.”

Jiangmen (AsiaNews/ChinaAid) – A group of Protestant Christians were arrested in southern Guangdong. When they refused to sign a statement confessing participation in a "evil cult", they were imprisoned.

Any group labelled "evil cult" is immediately outlawed. The expression suggests its religious practice hurt its followers and can spark violence against the group.

For quite a while, the government has been involved in a campaign against "underground churches and evil cults", lumping together sects and religious communities.

Two years ago, two members of a sect called the Church of the Almighty God were executed for causing the death of a woman in Shandong. The sect was called "evil cult".

For the government, the label can be used against any religious expression that is not under its control, and this can encourage ordinary Chinese to see religion as an “evil thing”.

The people accused in the aforementioned case of "evil cult" belong to the Fengle Church, a house Church in Jiangmen.

On 12 June, police came to the home of Ruan Haonan. Called Mengai (dream house), his house was used for prayer meetings.

Ruan was grabbed to get him to confess that he practiced an evil cult. When he refused, he was taken to prison. After searching the premises, police took away a number of bibles.

According Rev Li, head of the community, no one else was in the house at the time of the raid. Later that night, Ruan’s pregnant wife, Luo Caiyan, was taken from their home. She was released when her husband was moved to the detention centre.

Additionally, Luo’s sister and Rev Li’s wife were also taken into custody and interrogated. In order to be released, they were forced to sign a statement saying they had participated in a cult.

in a piece published by the New York Times on 17 June 2014, Chinese novelist, Murong Xuecun wrote: “On June 1, a CCTV report outlined the ‘six characteristics of evil cults’, which a legal ‘expert’ said included the cult of personality, immorality and restrictions of individual and spiritual freedom.” However, “I realized that the name of the biggest cult is hidden in plain view: the Communist Party.”

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