44. A Secret Hotel Interrogation
By Song Ping, China
One day in February 2013, a sister and I made an appointment to go to a gathering. At about two in the afternoon, as I was waiting for her near a shoe store, I saw a man looking at me from time to time while talking on the phone, and I felt something was wrong. Just as I was about to leave, I heard “Don’t move!” I saw four or five people rushing toward me, and I thought, “Oh no, it’s the police!” I tried to run away, but two men caught up with me, knocked me to the ground, and then shoved me into a car, where I saw three other sisters who were being arrested with me.
The police took us to the police station and ordered us to stand by the walls of the yard. I was very nervous. I prayed to God earnestly, and thought of God’s words, “Do not fear, the Almighty God of hosts will surely be with you; He stands behind you and He is your shield” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Utterances of Christ in the Beginning, Chapter 26). Indeed, with God at my side, what did I have to fear? I had to rely on God to experience this environment. Slowly, I managed to calm myself. After that, they took me to a room. I felt humiliated and angry when a policewoman forced me to strip to be searched, and deliberately made me do a squat with my legs apart.
The next night, the police took me to a six-story hotel. They had rented the top three floors of the hotel and converted them into a secret interrogation center to detain and torture believers in God. When I got to the sixth floor, I saw more than 20 brothers and sisters standing in a row, and I was shocked: So many people had been arrested! It seemed that the Communist Party had arrested them all at the same time. I didn’t know how the police would treat us, so I silently prayed to God, asking God to protect us so that we could stand firm. The police then separated us for interrogation.
At five in the morning on the third day, a fat policeman came in and said in a scolding tone, “The man I was interrogating is a leader, and he was a stubborn one. The interrogation didn’t end until two or three o’clock.” He proudly gestured as he continued, “First, I kicked him hard in the face, and then I kicked him hard on the other side of his face, and then, I slapped him over and over with both hands.” He shook his hands and continued his angry complaining, “I hit him so hard it hurt my hands, so I picked up half a bottle of mineral water and hit across his face until I couldn’t move my arms. His whole face was deformed. He was completely unrecognizable.” I was horrified by the policeman’s performance. My heart was pounding, and I felt especially angry, “These policemen are so cruel, if they beat me like they beat my brother, could I bear it?” I didn’t dare to think about it any further. I quickly prayed to God to ask Him to protect the brother who was beaten, and also protect me, so that we could have the confidence to experience this environment.
On the morning of the fourth day, the police took me to the police station. A policeman surnamed Wu asked me what my position in the church was. I said I was an ordinary believer. He stood up abruptly and said, “I guess you won’t tell the truth if you don’t feel some pain!” He ordered me to straighten my arms, squat down, stand up, and then repeat the motion. After doing this for a long time, I was so tired that I was sweating profusely, and my legs were sore. I fell to the ground. He sneered and said, “You know something? No matter how tough people are, here, they have to bow down to me. Are you a leader? Who is your superior?” When I didn’t say anything, he ordered me to squat. After squatting for just a few minutes, my legs started shaking, they were swollen, and soon, I collapsed. He asked me to get up and continue squatting, and I repeated it more than 800 times. A policeman said menacingly, “Look at how sweaty you are. You look pathetic. Why are you suffering like this? Where is this God? If you tell us what you know, you won’t have to suffer. If you don’t, you will suffer more than you know.” Listening to the policeman’s words, I felt disgusted. I glanced at him and said I didn’t know anything. They handcuffed my hands behind my back to the tiger bench. After being handcuffed for just a while, I felt tightness in my chest and difficulty breathing. I was almost suffocating. I asked them to take off the handcuffs, and after a long time, they finally opened them. Later, a police officer came in and said, “Try to understand your situation. Everyone else confessed. It’s stupid to sit here and hold out by yourself, isn’t it? Tell me what you know now and we’ll let you leave.” Then he took out a few photos and asked me to identify the people in them. He said, “These people were all arrested, and they said they knew you. Do you know them? What are their jobs in the church?” I thought, “If the brothers and sisters really admit to knowing me, but I say I don’t know them, the police will definitely not let me off. But if I say I know them, I’ll be betraying my brothers and sisters. That would make me a Judas who betrays God. What should I do?” At this time, I remembered a passage of God’s word, “At all times, My people should be on guard against the cunning schemes of Satan, guarding the gate of My house for Me … so as to avoid falling into Satan’s trap, at which time it would be too late for regrets” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. God’s Words to the Entire Universe, Chapter 3). I realized this was one of Satan’s tricks. The police might be using this method to deceive me and make me betray my brothers and sisters, and betray God. I couldn’t fall for it. Even if my brothers and sisters admitted they knew me, I still couldn’t betray them. With this in mind, I said I didn’t know them.
The police officer surnamed Wu saw that I wasn’t fooled and said angrily, “I’d like to see just how stubborn you are!” Then he ordered me to get up and handcuffed my hands to the metal bars covering the hallway window. My body was suspended in the air, my wrists were in unbearable pain, and meanwhile, the police looked at me and laughed. After a while, they took me down and told me to continue squatting. That night, the police took me back to the hotel. The next morning, the police officer surnamed Wu said, “Starting today, I will handcuff you to the window. If you don’t tell the truth, you won’t even get to eat.” After that, they handcuffed one of my hands to the metal bars. From time to time, they came to ask me about the details of my church. When one of the police saw that I still wasn’t talking, he slapped me hard with a folder, and deliberately opened the door so I could hear the sounds of the other sisters being tortured. Hearing their cries of agony, I felt heartbroken and very angry.
Four days later, a policeman surnamed Mu took my notebook, pointed at the numbers on it, and asked me if they were the cell phone numbers of my brothers and sisters. When I didn’t answer, he shouted loudly, “Even if you don’t say a word, this notebook is enough to sentence you!” He took out a photo, pointed at the person in it, and asked me if he was the leader of the church. He then took out three pictures of host homes for the church, and then he asked me to identify them. I knew all these homes, but I said I didn’t recognize them. He added, “We’ll put you in a car and take you there. You only need to point us to the location. And we’ll keep it secret for you, no one will know you gave the information.” Seeing I still wasn’t saying anything, he said to the police next to him, “Strip her naked, hang her so that she’s facing out from the window, so that passers-by can see. Then, take a picture of her and post it on the Internet, say she is a Judas, and say she told us everything.” After that, he came up to take off my clothes. I was very afraid. If he really did this and posted my photo on the Internet, my relatives and friends would see it. How could I live after that? I begged him not to take off my clothes, but he sneered and said, “What? Are you afraid?” Then all of them burst into laughter. Seeing their complacent appearances, I realized this was another of Satan’s tricks, so I quickly calmed down and cried out to God. At this time, I remembered a hymn of God’s word, “You must suffer hardship for the truth, you must give yourself to the truth, you must endure humiliation for the truth, and to gain more of the truth you must undergo more suffering. This is what you should do. You must not throw away the truth for the sake of a peaceful family life, and you must not lose your life’s dignity and integrity for the sake of momentary enjoyment” (Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs, You Should Forsake All for the Truth). God’s words gave me confidence and strength. I believed in God and followed the right path in life. Being tortured and humiliated because of my belief in God was nothing to be ashamed of. I was being persecuted for righteousness, and God approved of this. If I yielded to Satan and betrayed God to protect my reputation, that would be the most shameful thing I could do, and I would truly lose my human dignity. I hated myself for being spineless and begging for mercy from Satan, thereby turning myself into Satan’s laughingstock. I swore to myself that no matter how these wicked police humiliated me, even if they really stripped my clothes off, I would never bow down to them and beg for mercy, and I would never become a Judas. When the police saw that I was no longer afraid, they were so angry that they handcuffed both of my hands to the metal bars. A policewoman shouted, “Weren’t you going to strip her naked? Take everything off, so you can see all everything.” The group of policemen laughed wildly, like demons from the underworld. At that time, my feet were in the air, and my weight was on my wrists, which hurt as if they were about to break. I prayed earnestly to God in my heart, asking Him to give me confidence and strength so that I could endure the torture of the police and not compromise with Satan. After more than half an hour, the police let me down. My feet were numb and unfeeling, and I fell to the floor as soon as my feet touched it. A police officer said viciously, “Think about your situation. If you still won’t talk, we have more tricks to deal with you.” After that, they left.
Two days later, a fat policeman came in. As soon as he entered, he said to the two policemen who were guarding me, “Do you know why you can’t break this woman? It’s that you’re too soft, and you’re not using the right techniques. Today, I’ll teach you a few tricks, and show you how I get it done!” He asked me to squat, and then half squat, and then repeat it to the point where I lost all my strength and collapsed. He then told the two police officers to each grab one of my arms, push me down and lift me up, and continue torturing me like this repeatedly. Looking at their fierce expressions, I knew that heavier torture was coming next. I thought of my servile appearance when I bowed to Satan and begged for mercy two days prior due to my fear of humiliation, so I made up my mind that today, I would rely on God and bear witness for Him before Satan. I prayed to God in my heart, “God, I don’t know what other means the police will use to torture me, but I wish to create strong and resounding testimony for You, so I ask that You give me confidence and strength.” After just a little while, they became so tired and sweaty that they couldn’t lift me. As soon as their hands released me, I fell heavily to the floor. They ordered me to get up and squat down again and again. The fat policeman sneered and said, “She looks too hot. Pour some cold water on her. I’m sure she’ll like that.” Then they poured cold water on me until I was completely soaked. But the amazing thing was that I felt a hot steam rising from me, and I didn’t feel cold at all. I knew that this was God’s protection of me. I continuously thanked God in my heart, and I felt my faith in God grow.
Then the two policemen dragged me up and handcuffed my left hand to the metal bars. My wrist was already injured from being hung up before, so when I was handcuffed this time, it hurt even more. The police laughed when they saw my pain, and I didn’t want them to see my weakness, so I endured the pain without making a sound. To reduce the pain, I strained to stand on my tiptoes. One of my toes could still touch the ground, but barely, yet when a police officer saw this, he pressed his foot against my heel, suspending my body for a while, and then moved his foot, causing a violent yanking on my hand that was particularly painful. Seeing that I was still silent, the police tied a rope to one of my feet, pulled up on the rope to hang my body in midair, and then suddenly let go. They did that repeatedly. Just like that, my body swayed from side to side, and it felt like a knife cutting into my wrist. As this continued, I prayed to God urgently in my heart. Later, the fat policeman brought in a rattan chair. The other two policemen each grabbed one of my legs, put them on top of the chair’s back, and then yanked the chair away. All of my weight fell on my wrist, causing the edge of the handcuffs to sink into the flesh. The pain was nearly unbearable. Thirty or forty minutes later, the police took my left hand down, handcuffed my right hand to the metal bars, and continued the torture. I started to feel short of breath, and thought, “I don’t know how much longer the police will torture me. If they keep me suspended like this, my hands will be crippled, and if my hands really become crippled, how will I survive in the future?” The more I thought, the more miserable I felt, until it was even difficult for me to breathe. I felt that I couldn’t bear it any longer, so I prayed earnestly to God, “God, my flesh is too weak. I can’t hold on any longer. Please give me strength, so that I can stand firm and humiliate Satan.” At that moment, I remembered a passage of God’s words, “On the road to Jerusalem, Jesus was in agony, as if a knife were being twisted in His heart, yet He had not the slightest intention of going back on His word; always there was a powerful force compelling Him onward to where He would be crucified. Ultimately, He was nailed to the cross and became the likeness of sinful flesh, completing the work of the redemption of mankind. He broke free of the shackles of death and Hades. Before Him, mortality, hell, and Hades lost their power, and were vanquished by Him” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. How to Serve in Harmony With God’s Will). God’s word gave me strength. To redeem humankind, the Lord Jesus was crucified and suffered great humiliation and pain, yet He did so without hesitating. God’s love for people is too great, and in this, God has already set an example for us. But when I faced the torture of the police, I didn’t think about how to stand witness. Instead, I thought about my own body. I was so selfish and despicable! With this in mind, I felt ashamed and embarrassed. This time, I was determined that I would satisfy God. Thinking of God’s love inspired me and gave me the courage to fight Satan to the end. At this time, one of the police saw me with my eyes closed and said, “She’s praying to their God, and she gets a burst of strength every time she does that.” Another poked my eyelids with a thin metal rod. As he poked my eyes, he said, “Open your eyes. You’re not allowed to pray to your God.” When he saw that I was still silent, he slapped my face with a belt three or four times, but I didn’t feel any pain at all. After more than half an hour, a policeman said, “Cuff her up higher, so she can’t touch the ground. Let’s see how she enjoys that.” Then, two police lifted me up, but just as another opened the handcuffs and was about to close them around a higher bar, the handcuffs suddenly broke and couldn’t latch. They tried another pair, but they still didn’t work. I knew this was God’s protection, and I thanked God in my heart. The police were too tired to hold me up anymore, so they let go, and I suddenly fell to the ground. They had tortured me for nearly two hours, and I was so exhausted that I lay there motionless. Looking back on the whole process of the police torturing me, I clearly saw the vile and evil nature of the police. I also felt God’s care for me, and I became more confident in God. After a while, a police officer came over and kicked me a few times. Seeing that I was still motionless, he applied an entire bottle of cooling ointment on my eyes, but I didn’t feel a thing. The policeman saw that I wasn’t responding and left. I knew this was God’s protection of me.
At about seven in the evening, a police officer came in. When he saw that I was soaking wet and shivering from the cold, he reprimanded the other police. With a false air of kindness, he asked them to bring dry clothes to change for me, and then gave me a bowl of noodles, after which he tried to ingratiate himself with me. He said, “You’re so far from your home, and now you can’t go back. Don’t your children miss you? What are you doing believing in God at such a young age? I heard you’re a leader, so just tell us what we want to know, and I promise we’ll let you go. You’ll be able to go home and be with your family.” Once I heard this, I realized he was trying to deceive me into trusting him and telling him the information about the church. I said, “I’ve already told you all I know. I don’t know anything else.” He suddenly slapped the table, stood up, and said viciously, “Don’t think we can’t do anything to you if you don’t talk! The central government ordered us to completely eradicate believers in Almighty God. We’re going to eliminate your organization. If you don’t start cooperating, you will be sentenced.” Then he left. At this time, the policeman surnamed Wu said, “You’d better just do the smart thing and give us the information we want. That way you won’t have to suffer so much.” I thought, “The police won’t stop if they don’t get the information they want. If I can’t stand the torture and become a Judas, that would be betraying God, so I might as well kill myself.” I was having thoughts of suicide. At that moment, I realized my state was wrong, so I silently prayed to God, “God! My flesh is weak, and I want to escape from this environment by dying. I am too weak, and my stature is too small. Please enlighten and guide me, and give me the confidence and strength to stand firm.” After I prayed, I suddenly realized I had files of God’s word on my MP5 player. I said to the young police officer, “Give me my MP5. There’s something I want to show you on it.” He thought I was about to confess, so he handed it to me. I turned on the MP5 player, where I saw a passage of God’s words, “Those whom God refers to as ‘overcomers’ are those who are still able to stand witness and maintain their confidence and devotion to God when under the influence of Satan and while being laid siege to by Satan, that is, when they find themselves amidst the forces of darkness. If you are still able to keep a pure heart before God and maintain your genuine love for God no matter what, then you are standing witness in front of God, and this is what God refers to as being an ‘overcomer’” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. You Should Maintain Your Devotion to God). From God’s words, I understood God’s will. When I face persecution and tribulation, what God wants is my faith and loyalty. God wants me to bear victorious testimony while under siege by Satan. These wicked police tortured me this way to force me to betray God. If I killed myself, losing my testimony, that would be falling for Satan’s tricks, and failing to live up to the effort God had expended for me—that would hurt God too much. I couldn’t die, I had to live on, be strong, stand firm and satisfy God. Thinking of this, I felt a sense of strength. I fell to my knees and offered a prayer of thanks to God. The young policeman said in surprise, “You’re quite brave, daring to kneel down and pray here!” I ignored him. After I prayed, he asked me, “Have you made up your mind? Once you’ve thought it through, tell me what you know.” I resolutely said, “I’ve said everything I need to say. I have nothing else to say.” The officer surnamed Wu became so furious that he picked up the handcuffs and handcuffed one of my hands to the metal bars. The young police officer said, “Prayer is really powerful. It’s like it makes her a totally different person. She doesn’t fear anything, and doesn’t say anything.” When I heard that, I thanked God from the bottom of my heart, and I became more confident that I could stand firm.
The next morning, when the police saw that none of their tactics worked on me, they said, “Starting today, we’ll handcuff you to the window every day, and we won’t let you eat, drink, or sleep. Let’s see how many days you can last.” I silently prayed to God, “God, I believe that my life and death are in Your hands. Please protect me. Even if I die, I would stand firm and bear witness for You!” After that, the police took turns watching me, and they woke me up loudly when they saw me dozing off. On the third day, a man across the road noticed me handcuffed to the window and shouted at me, “Have you been kidnapped by someone? If so, wave your hand at me, and I’ll call 110 for you.” I thought, “I was imprisoned here by the police. Do you think the police do good things for ordinary people? The Communist Party police are just a pack of bestial demons.” After a few more days, more and more people downstairs noticed me handcuffed to the window. They were pointing at me and going on and on about it, so the police moved me to the opposite room.
One night, around March 20, I was taken to a special investigations office. There, two police subjected me to brainwashing until after four in the morning, when a police officer surnamed Liu said to me, “The Church of Almighty God has grown to several million people now, and this directly endangers the interests of the Communist Party. If we don’t suppress it, who will listen to the Communist Party? President Xi personally ordered that ‘Eastern Lightning’ be completely eradicated, and that those who believe in Almighty God receive reeducation, so that they give up their beliefs and accept the Party’s education and leadership. If they refuse, they will be sentenced to prison, and no one will care if they’re beaten to death.” He continued, “Right now, the entire province and the whole country are arresting members of The Church of Almighty God. Eventually, it will be uprooted. If you think you can continue believing in Almighty God, I’m telling you now that it’s impossible!” I said, “We believers in God simply go to gatherings, read God’s word, pursue dispositional change to become honest people, and follow the right path in life. How can we harm the interests of the Communist Party? If you don’t believe me, read the words of Almighty God and you’ll know. You’ve confiscated so many books of Almighty God’s word, so why not open one of them and take a look?” The other police officer said loudly, “Don’t tell us about believing in God! We don’t believe in this, we only believe in the Communist Party and President Xi.” Then he threatened me, “Think hard about it. If you tell us what we want to know, I promise not to sentence you to prison. We’ll let you go home right away. If you still don’t understand your situation, I’ll send you to a mental hospital. The doctor will give you an injection every day, so that you lose your mind. You’ll live with all kinds of mentally ill people, then they will beat you and scold you every day. We’ll see how long you can last in there.” After I heard this, I was very scared. If I was sent to a mental hospital, I would be around mentally ill people every day. Living with such people, even a normal person would go crazy. When the police saw that I was silent, they threatened me again, “Go back and think about it. Write down everything we should know. Based on the evidence we have, we can sentence you to at least three to seven years.”
Back to the hotel, thinking about what the police said, I couldn’t sleep at all. The thought of the mentally ill chasing me around and beating me, and the image of myself going crazy and running around the street naked made me break out in a cold sweat and bolt upright in bed. I cried and prayed to God, “God! I’m afraid of becoming a lunatic. Please help me, lead me, and calm me. No matter what kind of circumstances I face, I will never betray You.” After I prayed, I thought of a passage of God’s words, “When people are ready to sacrifice their lives, everything becomes trifling, and no one can get the better of them. What could be more important than life? Thus, Satan becomes incapable of doing any more in people, there is nothing it can do with man” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Interpretations of the Mysteries of “God’s Words to the Entire Universe”, Chapter 36). As I contemplated God’s word, I gradually calmed down. If I was willing to risk my life, what suffering couldn’t I endure? My life and death were in God’s hands, and I would not become mentally ill without God’s permission. After dawn, I took out a pen and paper, and wrote one line, “High walls and big courtyards, rotting forever in prison.” When the police officer saw it, his face changed. He was so angry that he slammed the door and left.
After more than a month, I was sent to the detention house. Because the interrogation was still inconclusive, they sentenced me to residential surveillance for six months, and warned me, “You are a criminal suspect now, and you have no freedom anywhere. If you believe in God again, you will be sentenced if we catch you.” The police called my house from time to time, and people from the Religious Affairs Bureau came to my house to question me about my belief in God. I didn’t dare to contact my brothers and sisters, and I couldn’t live the church life. Due to being tortured by the police, I couldn’t bend my fingers on both hands, and my wrists hurt so badly that I couldn’t move them. I didn’t even have the strength to pick up a comb, and even now I don’t have any strength in my wrists.
After being arrested, persecuted, and tortured by the Communist Party, I clearly saw its brutal, evil, and Heaven-defying nature. I also clearly saw that it is Satan, who resists God and harms people. At the same time, I saw that God is almighty and wise, and I felt God’s protection and care for me. It was God’s words that led me, step by step, to gain victory over Satan, and stand firm. Thanks be to God!