1. Day After Day in a CCP Prison
By Yang Yi, China
Almighty God says, “In many places, God has prophesied that He will be gaining a group of overcomers in the land of Sinim. Since it is in the world’s East that overcomers are to be gained, so the place where God sets foot in His second incarnation is without a doubt the land of Sinim, the exact spot where the great red dragon lies coiled. There, God will gain the descendants of the great red dragon so that it is thoroughly defeated and shamed. God is going to awaken these people, heavily burdened with suffering, to rouse them till they are fully awake, and to make them walk out of the fog and reject the great red dragon. They will wake from their dream, recognize the substance of the great red dragon, become able to give their whole heart to God, rise up from the oppression of the dark forces, stand up in the East of the world, and become proof of God’s victory. Only in this way will God gain glory” (“Work and Entry (6)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). After reading these words, I thought of my arrest by the Chinese Communist Party about a decade ago.
It was January 23, 2004, I got up early to visit a sister from the church. However, I was illegally arrested by the CCP police on my way there. They rifled through my bag and found some faith materials, a cell phone and a pager, and so on. Later they took me to the Public Security Bureau. When we arrived there, the police led me into a room. One of them fiddled with my pager and cell phone, looking for clues. He turned on the phone but it showed low battery, then the battery was completely dead. Try as he might, he couldn’t get it to turn on. Holding the phone, he looked worried. I was puzzled too—I’d just charged the phone that morning. How could it have no power? I suddenly realized that God had miraculously arranged this to stop the police from finding any information about the other brothers and sisters. I also understood the words spoken by God: “Any and all things, whether living or dead, will shift, change, renew, and disappear in accordance with God’s thoughts. Such is the way in which God presides over all things” (“God Is the Source of Man’s Life” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Truly, all things and all events are in God’s hands. Whether living or dead, all things undergo change according to God’s thoughts. In this moment, I gained a true understanding of how God holds sovereignty over and orchestrates all things. What’s more, I gained the confidence I needed to rely upon God to face the coming interrogation. Pointing at the things in the bag, the police officer asked accusingly: “These show that you’re clearly no ordinary church member. You must be one of the senior leadership, someone important, as junior leaders don’t have pagers or cell phones. Am I right?” “I don’t understand what you’re saying,” I replied. “You’re pretending you don’t!” he roared, then ordered me to squat down and start talking. Seeing I wasn’t going to play ball, they surrounded me and began punching and kicking me—as though they wanted to kill me. With my face bloody and swollen, my whole body aching unbearably, I collapsed on the floor. I was incensed. I wanted to talk reason to them, to argue my case: What have I done wrong? Why did you beat me like that? But I had no way of talking sense with them, because the CCP government doesn’t talk sense. I was confused, but I didn’t want to give in to their beatings. Just as I was at a loss, I suddenly thought of how, since these evil officers of the CCP government were being so absurd, since they weren’t letting me speak any words of reason, I needn’t say anything to them. I was better off keeping silent—that way I’d be of no use to them. When I thought of this, I stopped paying any attention to what they were saying. Seeing that this approach had no effect on me, the evil policemen flew into a rage and grew even more barbaric: They turned to torture to extract a confession. They handcuffed me to a metal chair screwed to the ground in such a position that I could neither squat nor stand. One of them placed my uncuffed hand on the chair and struck it with a shoe, only stopping when the back of my hand had gone black and blue, while another stomped on my feet with his leather shoes, rolling his shoes around on my toes to crush them, which is when I experienced an incredible, shooting pain that went straight to my heart. After that, six or seven policemen took turns at me. One of them concentrated on my joints, and pinched them so hard that a month later I still couldn’t bend my arm. Another grabbed my hair and shook my head from side to side, then wrenched it back so I was looking up. “Look at the sky and see if there’s a God!” he said viciously. They carried on until nightfall. Seeing that they weren’t going to get anything out of me, and because it was Chinese New Year, they sent me straight to the detention house.
When I arrived at the detention house, the guards put me in a cell and then made a lot of rumors about me and incited the prisoners to torment me. The prisoners played tricks on me every day: When it was 8 or 9 degrees below zero, they soaked my shoes; they secretly poured water in my food; in the evening, when I was asleep, they drenched my cotton-padded jacket; they made me sleep next to the toilet, and they often pulled off my quilt in the night and pulled my hair to keep me from sleep; they snatched my steamed buns; they forced me to clean the toilet, and forced their leftover medicine into my mouth, they didn’t let me relieve myself…. If I didn’t do anything they said, they’d gang up and beat me—and often at such times the correctional officers or the roundsmen would hurry out of view or pretend they hadn’t seen anything; sometimes they’d even hide a little way off and watch. If the prisoners went a few days without tormenting me, the correctional officers would incite them to beat me. The guards’ brutal torment filled me with hatred for them. If I hadn’t witnessed this with my own eyes and personally experienced it, I would never believe that the CCP government, which is supposed to be full of benevolence and morality, could be so dark, fearful, and horrible—I would never have seen its true face, a face that is deceitful and duplicitous. All its talk of “serving the people, creating a civilized and harmonious society”—these are lies designed to deceive and hoodwink people, they are a means, a trick, of beautifying itself and gaining kudos it does not deserve. At that time, I thought of the words of God: “Small wonder, then, that God incarnate remains completely hidden: In a dark society such as this, where the demons are merciless and inhumane, how could the king of devils, who kills people without batting an eye, tolerate the existence of a God who is lovely, kind, and also holy? How could it applaud and cheer the arrival of God? These lackeys! They repay kindness with hate, they have long since disdained God, they abuse God, they are savage in the extreme, they have not the slightest regard for God, they plunder and pillage, they have lost all conscience, they go against all conscience, and they tempt the innocent into senselessness. Forefathers of the ancient? Beloved leaders? They all oppose God! Their meddling has left all beneath heaven in a state of darkness and chaos! Religious freedom? The legitimate rights and interests of citizens? They are all tricks for covering up sin!” (“Work and Entry (8)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). To force me to deny and betray God, the CCP stopped at nothing in torturing and ravaging me—yet little did it know that the more it tortured me, the more clearly I saw its devilish face, and the more I despised and rejected it from the depths of my heart. I was more resolute in following God.
Seeing that they weren’t going to get me to say anything they wanted, they spared no expense—be it manpower, or material and financial resources—to go up hill and down dale asking for proof that I was a believer in God. Three months later, all their rushing about had come to nothing. In the end, they played their trump card: They found a master interrogator. It was said that everyone who was brought to him was subjected to his three forms of torture, and no one had ever not confessed. One day, four police officers came and said to me: “Today we’re taking you to a new home.” Next, they pushed me into a prisoner transport van, cuffed my hands behind my back, and put a hood over my head. I didn’t know how they planned to torture me, so I felt a little nervous. Just then, I thought of the Lord’s words, “For whoever will save his life shall lose it: and whoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 16:25). The Lord’s words gave me faith and strength. If we want to believe in and follow God in the ghost town of China, we must have the courage to offer up our lives. I was prepared to die for God. To my surprise, after getting in the van, I inadvertently overheard a conversation between the evil police. It seemed they were taking me somewhere else to be interrogated. Ah! They weren’t taking me to be executed—and I’d been preparing to die a martyr for God! Just as I was thinking this, for some unknown reason one of the police tightened the strings of the hood over my head. Soon after, I started feeling uncomfortable—it felt like I was being suffocated. I started foaming at the mouth, then couldn’t stop vomiting. It felt like I was going to vomit my insides out. I felt dizzy, my head empty, and I couldn’t open my eyes. I had no strength anywhere in my body, as if I’d been paralyzed. It felt like there was something sticky in my mouth that I couldn’t get out. I’d always been frail, and after being abused like this I sensed I was in trouble, and that I might stop breathing at any time. Amidst the pain, I prayed to God: “O God! I ask that You protect my heart. Whether I live or die, I will not betray You.” Sometime later, the van arrived at a hotel. They carried me to a sealed room. Soon after, the “interrogation expert” the police had spoken of arrived. He walked in front of me and grabbed me. After slapping me dozens of times on the face, he gave me several hard punches to the chest and back, then took off one of his leather shoes and hit me across the face with it. After being beaten by him like this, I lost the feeling that there was something I couldn’t get out of my mouth or stomach. I no longer felt so dazed and I could open my eyes. Feeling gradually came back to my limbs, and strength started to return to my body. Next, he roughly grabbed my shoulders and pushed me back against the wall, ordering me to look at him and answer his questions. Seeing I wasn’t paying him any attention enraged him, and he tried to get a reaction from me by vilifying, slandering and blaspheming God. He used the most contemptible, despicable means to bait me, and said ominously, “I’m deliberately tormenting you with what is unbearable to your flesh and soul, to make you suffer pain that no normal person could suffer—you’re going to wish you were dead. In the end, you’ll beg me to let you go, and that’s when you’ll speak sense, and say that your fate isn’t in God’s hands—it’s in mine. If I want you to die, it’ll happen straight away. If I want you to live, you’ll live, and whatever hardship I want you to suffer, that’s what you’ll suffer. Your Almighty God can’t save you—you’ll only live if you beg us to save you.” Faced with these despicable, shameless, contemptible thugs, these wild animals, these evil demons, I really wanted to fight them. “All things in heaven and on earth are created by God and controlled by Him,” I thought. “My fate is also subject to God’s sovereignty and arrangements. God is the Arbiter of life and death; do you think I’ll die just because you want me to?” At that moment, my heart was filled with fury. All the despicable acts the policemen had perpetrated against me and all the blasphemous and God-resisting things they had said today clearly exposed their demonic substance as haters of the truth and resisters of God, and this would be the evidence needed to warrant God’s condemnation, punishment and destruction.
My refusal to confess had cost the supposed expert a lot of face. He furiously twisted one of my arms behind my back and pulled the other behind my shoulder, then tightly cuffed my hands together. After less than half an hour, big drops of sweat were rolling down my face and into my eyes, preventing me from opening them. Seeing I still wasn’t going to reply to his questions, he threw me to the ground, then lifted me up by the handcuffs behind my back. I instantly felt a tearing pain in my arms, as if they’d been broken. It hurt so much I could hardly breathe. Next, he hurled me against the wall and made me stand against it. Sweat was blurring my eyes. It hurt so much my whole body was covered with sweat—even my shoes were soaked. I’d always been frail, and at this moment I collapsed. It seemed I had lost the ability to breathe through my nose. I could only pant with my mouth open. I felt death once more drawing near—maybe this time I really would die. But at that moment, I thought of Luke, one of Jesus’ disciples, and his experience of being hanged to death. In my heart, I spontaneously regained my strength, and kept saying the same thing over and over to remind myself: “Luke died by being hanged. I, too, must be Luke, I must be Luke, be Luke…. I willingly obey God’s orchestrations and arrangements, and I wish to be loyal to God unto death like Luke.” Just as the pain became unbearable and I was on the verge of death, I suddenly heard one of the evil police say that several brothers and sisters who believed in Almighty God had been arrested. In my heart, I was shocked: Several more brothers and sisters were to be tortured. They were bound to be especially hard on the brothers. My heart was filled with worry. I kept silently praying for them. Perhaps I was touched by the Holy Spirit; the more I prayed, the more inspired I was. I unconsciously forgot my pain. I knew full well that these were the wise arrangements of God; God was mindful of my weakness and was leading me through my most painful time. That night, I no longer cared how the evil police treated me, and paid not the slightest attention to their questions. Seeing what was happening, the evil police used their fists to savagely beat my face, then wound the hair at my temple around their fingers and wrenched it. My ears were swollen from being twisted, my face was unrecognizable, my bottom and my thighs had been left bruised and torn when they beat me with a thick piece of wood, and my toes, too, had been left black and blue after being smashed with a piece of wood. After hanging me up by handcuffs for six hours, when the evil police opened the handcuffs, the flesh below my left thumb had been rubbed clean off—there was only a thin layer left covering the bone. The handcuffs had also left my wrists covered in yellow blisters, and there was no way of getting them back on again. At that moment, an important-looking female police officer walked in. She looked me up and down, then said to them: “You can’t beat this one anymore—she looks like she’s about to die.” The police locked me in one of the hotel rooms. Its curtains were pulled tightly shut twenty-four hours a day. Someone was assigned to guard the door, and none of the service personnel were allowed to enter, nor was anyone allowed to see the scenes of them torturing and savaging me within. They took turns at interrogating me without respite. For five days and nights, they didn’t let me sleep, they didn’t let me sit or squat, nor did they allow me to eat my fill of food. I was only allowed to stand leaning against the wall. One day, an official came to interrogate me. Seeing that I was ignoring him, he flew into a rage and sent me flying under the table with a kick. Next, he pulled me out and punched me, causing blood to flow from the corner of my mouth. To cover up his savagery, he quickly closed the door to stop anyone coming in. Then he tore off a handful of tissues and wiped away my blood, washing the blood off my face with water and cleaning the blood off the floor. I deliberately left some of the blood on my white sweater. When I returned to the detention house, however, the evil police told the other prisoners that the blood on my clothing was from when I was being certified at the mental hospital and said that was where I’d been for the last several days. The wounds and blood on my body had been caused by the patients—they, the police, hadn’t touched me…. These cruel facts showed me the ruthlessness, insidious cunning, and inhumanity of the People’s Police, and at the same time, I truly felt God’s protection and care for me. Every time my pain was at its worst, God would enlighten and guide me, increasing my faith and strength, giving me the courage to stand witness for Him. When the evil police’s savagery left me at death’s door, God allowed me to hear news of other brothers’ and sisters’ arrest, using this to further move me to pray for them, so that I forgot my own pain and unwittingly overcame the constraints of death. Thanks to Satan acting as the evil, vicious foil, I saw that only God is the truth, the way, and the life, and that only God’s disposition is the symbol of righteousness and goodness. Only God rules everything, and arranges everything, and He used His great power and wisdom to lead my every step in defeating the siege of the demon legions, in overcoming the weakness of the flesh and constraints of death, thereby allowing me to tenaciously survive in this dark lair. As I thought about God’s love and salvation, I felt greatly inspired, and I resolved to fight Satan to the very end. Even if I rotted in jail, I would stand firm in my testimony and satisfy God.
After trying everything they could, the evil police had gotten nothing from me. In the end, they said with conviction: “The CCP is made of steel, but those who believe in Almighty God are made of diamond—they’re one better than the CCP in every regard.” After hearing these words, in my heart I couldn’t help but cheer and praise God: “O God, I thank and praise You! With Your almightiness and wisdom, You have overcome Satan and defeated Your enemies. You are the highest authority and may glory be to You!” Only at this moment did I see that no matter how cruel the CCP government is, it is controlled and orchestrated by God’s hands. Just as God’s words say: “All things in the skies and on the ground must come under His dominion. They cannot have any choice and must all submit to His orchestrations. This was decreed by God, and it is the authority of God” (“Success or Failure Depends on the Path That Man Walks” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
One day, the evil police came to interrogate me once again. This time they all seemed a little strange. They looked at me when they spoke, but it didn’t seem they were talking to me. They appeared to be discussing something. Like the previous times, this interrogation ended in failure. Later, the evil police took me back to my cell. On the way, I suddenly heard them saying that it looked like I would be released on the first of the next month. Hearing this, my heart almost burst with excitement: “This means I’ll be out in three days!” I thought. “I can finally leave this demonic hell!” Suppressing the delight in my heart, I expected and waited as every second passed. Three days felt more like three years. Finally, the first of the month arrived! That day, I kept staring at the door, waiting for someone to call out my name. The morning went by, and nothing happened. I put all my hopes in leaving in the afternoon—but when evening arrived, still nothing happened. When it was time for the evening meal, I didn’t feel like eating. In my heart, I had a sense of loss; at that moment, it was like my heart had fallen from heaven into hell. “Why isn’t she eating?” the correctional officer asked the other prisoners. “She hasn’t eaten much since she came back from being interrogated that day,” one of the prisoners replied. “Feel her forehead; is she sick?” the correctional officer said. A prisoner came up and felt my forehead. She said it was very hot, that I was running a fever. I really was. The illness had come on very suddenly, and it was very severe. At that moment, I collapsed. Over the course of two hours, the fever got worse and worse. I cried! All of them, including the correctional officer, watched me crying. They were all nonplussed: Their view of me was as someone who was neither enticed by the carrot nor browbeaten by the stick, who had not shed a single tear each time she was faced with grievous torture, and who had been hung up by handcuffs for six hours without a groan. Yet today, without any torture, I cried. They didn’t know where my tears came from—they simply thought I must be very ill. In fact, only God and I knew the reason. It was all because of my rebelliousness and disobedience. These tears flowed because I felt despair when my expectations had come to nothing and my hopes had been dashed. They were tears of rebelliousness and grievance. At that moment, I no longer wanted to set my resolve to bear testimony to God. I didn’t even have the courage to be tested like this again. That evening, I wept tears of misery, because I’d had enough of life in prison and I despised these demons—and even more than that, I hated being in this terrible place. I didn’t want to spend another second there. The more I thought about it, the more dispirited I became, and the more I felt a great sense of grievance, piteousness, and loneliness. I felt I was like a lonesome boat upon the sea, one that could be engulfed by the water at any time; moreover, I felt those around me were so insidious and awful that they might vent their anger on me at any time. I prayed to God over and over, and these words from Him occurred to me: “For everyone who aspires to love God, there are no unobtainable truths and no justice for which they cannot stand firm. How should you live your life? How should you love God, and use this love to satisfy His desire? There is no greater matter in your life. Above all, you must have such aspirations and perseverance, and should not be like those who are spineless, those who are weaklings. You must learn how to experience a meaningful life and experience meaningful truths, and should not treat yourself perfunctorily in that way” (“The Experiences of Peter: His Knowledge of Chastisement and Judgment” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words gave me faith. I thought of how I’d solemnly sworn before God that no matter how much I might suffer, I would stand witness and shame Satan. But when I was going to face police torture for a long time, I lost my resolve and was hoping only for the day I could escape that wretched place. How was that any kind of submission? How was that any kind of testimony? In a prayer to God, I swore that even if it meant spending my entire life in prison, I would never succumb to Satan. I would stand witness and humiliate Satan. Then on December 6, 2005, I was released, putting an end to that hellish prison life.
After experiencing this arrest and persecution, although my flesh had endured some hardship, I had developed insight and discernment, and truly seen that the CCP government is the embodiment of Satan the devil, a band of murderers that would kill people without blinking an eye, but I had also come to understand God’s omnipotence and wisdom, as well as His righteousness and holiness; I had come to appreciate God’s good intentions in saving me, and His care and protection toward me, thereby allowing me, during Satan’s savagery, to overcome Satan one step at a time, and stand firm in my testimony. From this day onward, I wish to give my entire being completely to God, and I will staunchly follow God, that I might be gained by Him as soon as can be.