In November, a group of Church of Almighty God members tried to seek asylum in Spain. Among them was Li Yanli, a well-known performer.
The Church of the Almighty God is a highly persecuted religious group in China. The members of this church are often harassed and detained by the police, and their situation after arrest often remains unknown.
These facts, however, were not taken into consideration by the Spanish police – despite being told by the asylum seekers – and the Spanish Asylum and Refugee Office ordered their repatriation. On November 3, while Li Yanli was deported back to China, she tried to commit suicide by cutting her wrist, knowing the fate which awaited her at home. Even after this event, the Spanish police wanted to deport her back to China after her condition stabilized.
However, thanks to the campaign started by Bitter Winter, several Spanish media elements and the Christian group of Spanish lawyers Abogados Cristianos, Lí Yanli is currently able to remain in Spain, and her asylum application can be processed further.
Sadly, this is not the case for her co-religionists. Li Guiyuan’s asylum application was rejected, and he received a deportation notice. He could either go back to China or travel to a third country. His decision was obvious; he bought a flight ticket to a South American country, where his position is still uncertain.
Liu Qi’s fate was the worst among the asylum seekers. He was forcibly repatriated to China. After he arrived in China on November 20, he was arrested, and his whereabouts and conditions are unknown. Church of Almighty God members who are deported back to China are arrested and likely detained for years, tortured and may even be killed.
Li Yanli told Bitter Winter,
“Thanks to the help of my lawyer and the media, I was not arrested along with Liu Qi. I can’t imagine what he is going through now. What I can do is pray for him silently. Actually, I was ready to die before the second deportation began. I knew that the CCP government would use extremely despicable means to torture me and would force me to sell out my brothers and sisters. Since such an outcome is inevitable, I just wanted to die. But when I read the letter from Polonia Castellanos, the Spanish Christian lawyer, asking me not to do anything to hurt myself again, I thought there was a divine intention behind it. Then, the desire for life began to ignite in my heart. After all, I am only thirty years old, so I want to live.”
The situation of the Church of Almighty God members cannot be spoken about in China, but thanks to the hard work of many people, Li Yanli’s story is a success.
Source: Bitter Winter