A teenage girl was sentenced to three years in prison in southwest China’s Yunnan Province for practicing her Christian faith, according to the human rights magazine Bitter Winter.
On June 29, 19-year-old Jiang Guangmei was sentenced in the Jianshui County People’s Court in Yunnan Province, which borders Vietnam.
The young woman was sentenced to prison on the charge of using a cult organization to undermine law enforcement, while at the same time being fined. Bitter Winter reports that the young woman had already been arrested in September 2018 when she was only 17 years old, after writing a faith experience in the Church of God Almighty (CAG).
The religious organization to which the young woman belongs is described by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) as a sect or Xie Jiao, a term used to refer to religious movements that are not to the liking of the CCP, which has a notable history of repression of religious freedom.
Jiang was sentenced after she refused to accept that practicing her faith was a crime. According to Bitter Winter, the CCP generally justifies arrests and detentions of so-called forbidden religious groups through written religious experiences.
Last year in April another 17-year-old CAG member was arrested on charges of practicing an illegal faith and ended up paying with three years in prison. In another similar case, an 18-year-old paid up with four years in prison.
According to Bitter Winter, “Both were kept in detention for ten months before the trial.” A source close to the CCP noted that the teenagers were “held in a secret interrogation base, where they were subjected to torture.”
The relatives of the accused reportedly lost track of them once they had their trials and were placed in detention; according to the source, the authorities never reported on the conditions under which they was being held.
As Breitbart News has reported, the source stated: “This violated rule eleven of the Regulations for the Handling of Delinquency and Criminal Cases Involving Minors by the [CCP] Public Security Authorities that stipulates: ‘When minors involved in delinquency or crimes are under interrogation … their parents or guardians or teachers shall be informed to be present.’”
Since the CCP usurped power under violent political campaigns in the 1960s and 1970s, Christians have become one of the CCP’s main targets of persecution on the grounds of eradicating a symbol of cultural imperialism.
As a result, a large number of Christians must go underground in order to practice their faith, and those who do not do so are subjected to all kinds of abuse by the CCP or are forced to join the Protestant church, which is authorized by the state.
Human rights abuse in China have been a phenomenon that over the years has become more relevant to the international community as well as to human rights groups.
According to a recent report by Human Rights Watch, a global coalition of 321 civil society groups has called for the creation of an independent international mechanism to investigate human rights violations by the Chinese Communist in an open letter to the United Nations.
One of the most troubling cases of human rights violations in China is the one that has taken place since 1999 against practitioners of the ancient Chinese spiritual discipline Falun Gong.
Despite its remarkable popularity throughout the country for its health benefits since its introduction to the public in 1992, it has been defamed and persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party, and research shows that those sympathetic to the discipline have been the target of a massive campaign of forced organ harvesting.