My uncle Li TieZhu is 65 years old. Before he retired, he was an ordinary farmer in Wangdahan Village, Qingshan District, Baotou City of Inner Mongolia. As his children always worked in cities and could rarely return home, Uncle Li was always taken care of by fellow villagers and lived a stable life.
A pair of shoes
On July 2014, because of persistent rain for several days, there was no work in the farmlands so Uncle Li and I had a drink together. The conversation went smoothly and Uncle Li was very happy. Then, he brought out a pair of new leather shoes to show off, saying that he obtained the shoes from an activity held at Sun’s home. I asked Uncle Li to take me with him the next time there was such a good activity. Uncle Li agreed.
One night at the beginning of August, he came to me, saying that there were activities again at Sun’s home. As I also wanted to have a pair of leather shoes, I went to Sun’s home with him. Sun lived at the northernmost end of the village. His wife had died two years previously, so he lived alone. After entering Sun’s courtyard, I heard people singing and reciting. It seemed strange to me to see doors and windows closed and curtains pulled tight without even a ray of light going through the window. I went through the doorway into the door with uncle. I had not met those people in Sun’s home before and I thought it was odd to see them kneeling on the ground, murmuring something. It was my first time to see such kind of activity, as it was the first time I’d heard they gave out shoes for free. After a while, Uncle Li held two books, saying that they came from Sun. I noticed the titles of the books were Words Manifest in the Flesh and Almighty God. I felt that I had seen such titles before. Suddenly, it reminded me of an anti-cult propaganda film that I watched in an urban square. As the film put it, Almighty God is a cult. Then, it occurred to me that Channel 5 once broadcast a story about an Almighty God tragedy in Shandong Zhaoyuan. I felt terrified and pulled him out of the house. After leaving the building, I told uncle hurriedly: “Uncle Li, do you know what they are doing? This is a cult. I heard of this cult when I was still a migrant worker in the city. Many families werebroken up because of this cult. A few months ago, the news reported that a woman from Shandong was beaten to death by members of Almighty God. Please think, is it worth it to receive gifts from those people!” Uncle Li responded: “How could I know that this was a cult? Sun just told me that Jesus’ era had passed and now it is the Almighty God that controls the world. As long as I read the book and believe in the Almighty God, I will get things for free. I just wanted something for free.” “Uncle Li, there is no such thing as a free lunch. Please just return things to Sun and never join them again!” Uncle Li returned the books hurriedly and then we returned home quickly. On the way home, I told him in detail about how the cult deceived people and defrauded people of money. Uncle Li was persuaded to return the shoes to Sun the next morning.
As my sister who lived in the city would get married soon, I went to the city on the morning of August 9th. Five days later, when I returned to the village, I heard that Uncle Li’s home was smashed on the third day after I left home and his wife had been sent to hospital. I went to Uncle Li’s home quickly and asked him what happened. He told me he returned shoes to Sun on the day I left. Sun said nothing, but at 1 a.m. that night, Uncle Li and his wife woke up suddenly, saw a big fire in the courtyard and heard somebody yell “burn Satan” and “eliminate them completely”! Uncle Li rose from bed and ran to the courtyard, but all the mobsters ran away. With the help of his neighbors, the fire was put out. The neighbors asked Uncle Li who the mobsters were but, even though he knew the answer, he did not dare to tell them and hoped that the danger would end.
However, at 2 a.m. of August 10th, a group of people with masks broke into his house and smashed everything there, saying that, “Those who should be punished severely will be punished and those who should die will die!” The old couple was too scared to move. However, the gang grabbed Uncle Li and prepared to beat him. Seeing the scene, his wife passed out. After Uncle Li was beaten, his neighbors came and scared the people away. His neighbors sent the elderly couple to the hospital. Uncle Li returned home after a physical examination, but his wife stayed in the hospital. She was terrified. His relatives reported the incident to the police, but the police found no one when they arrived at Sun’s home. According to Sun’s neighbors, no one had seen him for days.
When Uncle Li and I talked, anti-cult volunteers came to console him. Volunteers said that Sun probably went to "evangelize”, so there was little chance that he could be found. Mobsters were enforcers for the Almighty God. The public security organ launched an investigation, so we were assured that such a tragedy would not happen again. We were told that we should quickly phone the police if we found any clues. Uncle Li held my hand and told me that he would never again try to gain petty advantages. It was such a bloody lesson: his home was smashed, he was beaten and his wife was frightened and fell ill. How terrible! Never should we participate in any cult. Once you are involved, you will be harmed and even lose your life!