On the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party, the CCP issued a crackdown targeting members of the Church of the Almighty God (CAG).
According to religious liberty magazine Bitter Winter, arrests of CAG members have exceeded 400 people between April and June of this year.
The CAG is considered a new religious movement, and according to Bitter Winter, it is also the most severely persecuted religious group in China.
In a document issued by the Office of State Security in Shanxi Province, the arrests were made in the name of the maintenance of social order during the 100th-anniversary celebration of the CCP.
Under the guise of anonymity, a government employee in Henan Province told Bitter Winter that the central government was ordered to arrest CAG members as key targets in preparation for the celebration. At least 265 CAG members were arrested in the Henan Province from mid-April to mid-June.
In another account shared with Bitter Winter, a released CAG member explained that during interrogation, she found out that some police officers had disguised themselves as cleaning workers and surveilled her house for three months before she was arrested. The police also showed the woman surveillance screenshots of two other CAG members and forced her to reveal their whereabouts.
Police have also carried out unified operations in order to arrest members of the CAG in Baotou city, in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Within two days, Bitter Winter reports, at least 70 CAG members were arrested as a result of the joint operations.
From May 19 to 25, police in the southern province of Guandong arrested nearly 160 members across several cities, including Foshan, Guangzhou and Zhuhai.
In another unified operation in April, at least 116 CAG members were arrested. In addition, at least 750,000 RMB (about $ 116,000) of church and personal assets were looted.
According to a government insider, the government in the northern province of Shanxi launched a unified effort targeting CAG members on June 15 that may last until the end of July.
As of June 26, 403 CAG members had been arrested, including 124 in Changzhi city, 83 in Lüliang city, 67 in Jinzhong city, 96 in Linfen city, and 33 in Datong city.