82. Through Relentless Torture
One day in December of 2000, at around 5 in the afternoon, my wife and I were gathering at home with a brother and a sister when suddenly we heard a loud “bang bang bang” on the door. I rushed to hide our books. Then, six or seven police officers barged into the room. One of them yelled: “What are you doing? Are you having a gathering?” After he forced me to sign a search warrant, they ransacked the house, leaving everything in a complete mess. They found books of God’s word and two tape recorders. Deputy Chief surnamed Lyu of the Political Security Section came over to me with a few books of God’s word and said: “This is evidence for your arrest.” Then, they put us in a car. I prayed silently to God, “Oh God, You have allowed us to be caught today. No matter how the police torture me, I refuse to become a Judas and betray You!”
When we got to the police station, they interrogated us separately. One officer, surnamed Jin, asked me: “Who gave you those books in your house? Who converted you? Who is your leader?” I didn’t say a word, so he said cruelly: “Are you going to talk? If you don’t talk then you’re dead!” Seeing that I wasn’t going to talk, a police officer punched me viciously in the head a few times and then slapped me hard a couple times. I was seeing stars and my face stung awfully. He then stomped hard on my thigh a few times. Officer Jin smacked me in the face with a rolled-up magazine, and said viciously: “Let’s not waste time talking to him. Rope him up and let him see what we can do!” Then, a police officer brought over a rope, almost a quarter inch thick, and stripped off my outer clothing, leaving me with only thin long johns on. They grabbed my arms and pushed me to the ground, wrapped the rope around my neck, crossing it over my chest, then tied up my arms, used the rope to tie my hands behind my back, and threaded it through the portion of the rope that was around my neck, then pulled it up hard. My shoulders were drawn painfully close to each other, and the thin rope dug into my flesh. My arms felt like they had broken, and I was in tremendous pain. They made me split my legs to 90 degrees and angle my head down with my waist also bent at 90 degrees. Before long, I felt dizzy and like my eyes were bulging out of my head. Sweat from my face kept dripping down, leaving the floor covered with it. I was tired and in pain, my body was shaking, and I couldn’t stand on my legs. I wanted to bring my legs closer and rest for a moment, but if I moved slightly, Jin kicked me in the rear and ordered me not to move. The pain was unbearable. I was angry and full of hate, and I thought: “There are so many criminals that you don’t go after. I believe in God and walk the right path, I don’t break any laws, but you are torturing me. It’s incredibly evil!” I thought of God’s words that say: “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!” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Work and Entry (8)). I finally saw the CCP’s ugly face for what it is. They say “freedom of religion” and “the people’s police are for the people,” but it’s all lies! The Communist Party maintains the pretense of honoring freedom of belief, but in reality, they’re ruthless with believers, and would love to wipe us all out. The Communist Party is Satan the devil that resists and hates God. I thought to myself, “The more they torture me, the more faith I will have, up until the very end!”
About half an hour later, my whole body felt weak and my head and eyes were swollen. My legs felt totally numb and I had lost feeling in my arms and hands. My clothes were soaked through. That’s when I heard Jin say: “You can’t use the rope for more than half an hour, or else the arms become disabled.” After he said that, they undid the rope. The moment they untied it, I slumped to the ground, my body aching all over. Then, two police grabbed my hands from either side and spun my arms in circles like they were spinning a big rope. My hands were in extreme pain after they’d spun them a few times. Jin asked me again: “Where did you get those books from? Who is your leader? Who converted you? Tell me now!” Then, Lyu said with insincere kindness: “Just tell us, it’s not a big deal. If you tell us you won’t have to suffer anymore.” I thought: “Like I would ever sell out my brothers and sisters!” Exasperated that I wasn’t talking, Jin said: “Put him back in the rope and let’s see how long he can hold out!” They tied me up again. This time they tied me up tighter than before. The rope cut into the same places and it hurt even more than the first time. In my heart I kept praying to God, asking Him to give me faith and help me overcome the pain of the flesh. After half an hour, they saw I wasn’t going to answer them and loosened the rope.
Around 12:30 at night, the police took me to a detention house. At the detention house, I only ate two meals a day, with each meal consisting of just a steamed bun and a tiny portion of vegetables. The buns were filled with pulped corn cob, half the vegetables were rotten, and the bottom of the bowl was all mud. Every day from six in the morning till eight at night, I had to sit cross-legged, except for meals and a half hour in the morning that I could go outside. If I moved even a little bit while I was sitting, someone would hit me. There was a gash across my shoulders from the rope torture back at the police station. The yellow liquid oozing from it seeped through my clothes, and my wrists had also begun to bleed and swell up until they were purplish red. All the joints in my body were in unbearable pain, and even getting up to go to the bathroom was really hard. I felt like it wasn’t a place suitable for humans and I didn’t know when those dark days in prison would finally be over. These thoughts really tormented me. In the midst of my pain, I prayed to God over and over, asking Him to guide me, so that I could understand His will, be strong, and stand firm in my testimony. I thought of God’s words: “During these last days you must bear testimony to God. No matter how great your suffering, you should walk until the very end, and even at your last breath, still you must be faithful to God and at the mercy of God; only this is truly loving God, and only this is the strong and resounding testimony” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Only by Experiencing Painful Trials Can You Know the Loveliness of God). Thinking on God’s words was encouraging for me. I was in such a situation with God’s permission. God was using that arduous environment to perfect my faith and love. He hoped that I could stand firm in my testimony and humiliate Satan. But if I wanted to escape after just suffering a little bit, what kind of testimony would that be? Even though I suffered from the police’s torture, it helped me clearly see the Communist Party’s demonic essence in its resistance of God so I could hate it and forsake it from the bottom of my heart, and no longer be deceived by it. It was God’s salvation for me. I wasn’t as miserable once I understood God’s will. I vowed to myself: “No matter how much I suffer, I will continue to lean on God and stand firm in my testimony to Him.”
One day, someone from Political Security Section came to interrogate me and I felt a little nervous. I didn’t know what kind of torture they were going to use on me. I silently prayed to God and asked Him to protect my heart. In the interrogation room, Deputy Chief Lyu said insincerely: “Just come clean, once you tell us you can just go home. We went to your house. Your children are so young—it’s so sad that there’s nobody to take care of them. Just tell us.” Hearing him mention my children was difficult to bear. I thought: “My wife and I were both arrested by the Communist Party, and now even our children are being implicated. How can they manage with nobody taking care of them at such a young age?” That’s when I thought of God’s words that say: “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 that this was Satan’s trick. The police were using my emotions to lure me into betraying God. I couldn’t fall for it. Then I thought of God’s words that say: “Of everything that occurs in the universe, there is nothing in which I do not have the final say. Is there anything that is not in My hands?” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. God’s Words to the Entire Universe, Chapter 1). God rules over everything, and my children were in His hands. I was willing to entrust my children to God, and no matter what tricks the police used against me, I would stand firm and never become a Judas! Lyu kept asking me about the church and when I didn’t answer, Jin punched and kicked me, yelling as he hit me: “Don’t talk and I’ll beat you to death!” My head was spinning from the beating. Jin hit me for a while until he was out of breath, then he said ferociously: “Think you’ll be fine if you don’t talk? You’ll still get time! We have our ways to deal with you.” As he talked, he forcibly removed my coat, cotton shoes, and socks. He rolled up my pants to expose my calves, then dragged me to a big truck outside the interrogation room, then cuffed my hands to the door handle. The door was so high, my hands were over my head when cuffed to the handle. There was over a foot of snow on the ground. Jin cleared away about 10 square feet of snow around where I was standing, exposing sandy ground with a thin layer of ice on it. He made me stand on the ice in my bare feet, and said fiercely: “If you don’t talk, you’ll be frozen half to death. You’ll be a cripple for the rest of your life!” Then he went inside.
That winter was especially cold. It was around 5 below zero outside. I felt chilled to the bone as soon as I was cuffed and where I was standing was particularly exposed to the blowing wind. I slowly lost feeling in my body. I kept praying to God in my heart: “God, I am leaving myself entirely in Your hands. Please give me faith and strength and the will to get through this suffering.” After I prayed, I silently sang a hymn of God’s words “You Should Forsake All for the Truth”:
1 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. …
2 You should pursue all that is beautiful and good, and you should pursue a path in life that is more meaningful. If you lead such a vulgar life, and do not pursue any objectives, do you not waste your life? What can you gain from such a life? You should forsake all enjoyments of the flesh for the sake of one truth, and should not throw away all truths for the sake of a little enjoyment. People like this have no integrity or dignity; there is no meaning to their existence!
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Experiences of Peter: His Knowledge of Chastisement and Judgment
I felt encouraged. I could not yield to Satan. Even if I froze to death that day, I would stand firm in my testimony to God! About half an hour later, a guard of the detention house passed by and saw me handcuffed to the truck door. As he walked over to the interrogation room, he yelled loudly: “You can’t interrogate people like this. We can’t take anyone half frozen to death!” Shortly after the guard went inside, Jin and the others came out and dragged me back inside. By this point, my hands and feet had already lost feeling, my mouth was numb with cold, and my heart was fluttering. I sat on the floor for over an hour before I started to slowly warm back up. Lyu saw me in pain and gloated: “You’re worse than thieves—at least they have skill. You people go through so much pain just to believe in God, it’s truly not worth it. You’ll still be sentenced even if you don’t talk.” Hearing that really enraged me. These police officers turn the truth on its head. They think the crime of theft is a skill but treat us believers who walk the right path like criminals, like their mortal enemies who should be tortured so inhumanely! Looking at their vile faces, I cursed them in my heart. Finally, they saw I wasn’t going to talk, so they sent me back to the cell.
That night, my feet were itchy and in pain, and blisters started to form on them. They were covered with blood blisters the next morning, like I’d been burnt with scalding water. One emerged after another, with the big ones as big as egg yolks and the small ones as big as fingertips. I couldn’t walk at all, and I wanted to scratch them, but I didn’t dare. When the blood blisters broke, they just stuck to my socks. My calves were completely numb and itchy. I came down with a fever and my face got really flushed. By the third day, my feet had become infected and they were so swollen I couldn’t even fit into the biggest slippers. My calves had swollen to twice their normal size, and my ankles were all black and purple. Afraid of being held responsible, the guards sent me to the hospital. The doctor said my right ankle was infected and festering, and that I needed to be operated on. In the operating room, I overheard the doctor say to the other staff there: “We had another prisoner like this a couple days ago. His leg was infected the same way, then he died from osteomyelitis.” It scared me to hear the doctor say that. My feet were infected and I couldn’t even walk. Would I get osteomyelitis too? If I did, I’d end up either dead or disabled. Then what would I do? I was still so young and my whole family depended on me. The more I thought the more I suffered, and then I recalled a hymn of God’s words titled “How to Be Perfected”: “When you face suffering, you must be able to lay aside concern for the flesh and to not make complaints against God. When God hides Himself from you, you must be able to have the faith to follow Him, to maintain your previous love without allowing it to falter or dissipate. No matter what God does, you must submit to His design and be prepared to curse your own flesh rather than make complaints against Him. When you are faced with trials, you must satisfy God, though you may weep bitterly or feel reluctant to part with some beloved object. Only this is true love and faith” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Those Who Are to Be Made Perfect Must Undergo Refinement). God’s words gave me faith and strength. When faced with suffering, God wants me to have faith and to persevere so that I can stand firm in my testimony. Thinking about the past few times I was tortured, I thought that I had a lot of faith. When I saw that I had been so badly injured by the cold, I started to worry about my life and my future. I was afraid of dying, and of losing function in my legs. My stature was truly small. I didn’t show true faith or submission to God at all. Thinking about these things, I prayed to God: “Oh God! I don’t want to think about myself anymore. I will obey Your orchestrations and arrangements, and even if I die, I will still stand firm and satisfy You.” While in the hospital, the police kept me handcuffed to the bed the whole time. They only let me free to use the bathroom and to eat. One day when I went to the bathroom, two female patients passed by and asked what crime I’d committed. Jin said, “He’s a rapist!” The women looked at me with contempt. I was outraged. The police are always distorting the truth and making up lies!
The swelling in my legs went down after a couple weeks, but I still limped when I walked. The guards brought me back to the detention house. One day, three new police officers came to interrogate me. Seeing me hooked up to an IV, they said viciously: “Take that out! You’re too kind to him, letting him use an IV. It’s nice enough you’ve let him live at all!” Furious, I thought to myself: “Those demons, freezing me half to death then saying they’re too kind. They’re truly cruel and merciless!”
In the interrogation room, an officer said: “Your case is in our Criminal Police Brigade’s hands now. Political Security Section may not be able to deal with you, but we always have our ways!” Seeing each of their wicked, hideous faces made me nervous and I started sweating. I had heard that the Criminal Police Brigade was in charge of major cases. They were especially cruel and ruthless in their torture methods. I didn’t know how they would torture me. Would I be able to get through it? I quickly prayed to God to give me faith and the resolve to take the suffering. Then the officer said: “We always get even the toughest guys to confess in here. The Criminal Police Brigade specializes in punishing people. We don’t care if you believers in Almighty God live or die, so just hurry up and come clean!” I said: “I have nothing to say.” Enraged, he slapped me hard in the face with one hand and then the other. I was in a daze. The only things I could feel were my face in terrible pain with blood trickling from the corners of my mouth, and that my mouth and my face had swollen up. Looking at how burly they all were and how brutal they could be, I felt pretty worried: “If this goes on, will they beat me to the point of disability, or death? If I can’t take the torture and sell out, then I’ll be a Judas.” I quickly came before God and prayed. After I prayed, I thought of a sentence from God’s words: “Faith is like a single log bridge: Those who cling abjectly to life will have difficulty in crossing it, but those who are ready to sacrifice themselves can pass over, sure of foot and worry-free” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Utterances of Christ in the Beginning, Chapter 6). God’s words gave me faith and I resolved: “No matter how badly they beat me today, I will not become a Judas!” They slapped my face and kicked me hard a few more times. Then, they put me back in the rope like last time. But this time was even worse. They pulled my arms behind my back and yanked up hard on the rope. It felt like my arms were breaking and it hurt terribly. Half an hour later, my hands were bruised black and purple, and they untied me when they saw I was on my last legs. After another half an hour, seeing that my wrists had recovered a bit, they put me back in the rope for a second time. This time they brought a mop. They stuck its handle behind the rope around the back of my neck and twisted it around twice so the rope was even tighter on my arms and shoulders. One of the officers was sitting on a chair and holding the mop behind me, pushing it down hard. My arms were in unbearable pain and it felt like they were going to break. While he pushed down on the mop, he kept asking me: “How many of you are there? Who is your leader?” When they saw that I wasn’t going to answer, they brought three beer bottles and shoved them under my arms. It felt like my arms were being pulled down and the pain was so piercing that I almost passed out. I just kept praying to God and asking Him to give me strength. Then two officers walked over to either side of me, lifted up my shirt, and then used the opening of a water bottle to scrape hard along my ribs. It hurt so badly I screamed. An officer yelled at me: “You’re in pain, so why don’t you ask your God to come save you, huh? If you’re in so much pain just talk!” All the while they were scraping hard back and forth on my ribs until they broke the skin. It was agonizing. They then pressed my head down hard and said in exasperation: “If it’s not working, let’s take him somewhere where nobody’s around and beat him to death. Better to be a thief than one of those believers in God. A little suffering’s worth it if you get some cash!” Then, an officer said: “Just talk, this suffering isn’t worth it. If you talk it’ll all be over.” I felt like my body had reached its limit, and I thought: “What if I just tell them something that isn’t important? Maybe I can suffer a bit less.” But then I realized that if I said something, I’d be a Judas and betraying God. I couldn’t say a thing. I kept praying to God: “Oh God! I really can’t stand it anymore. Give me strength and protect me so that I can continue to stand firm in my testimony.” After I prayed, I thought of God’s words: “During these last days you must bear testimony to God. No matter how great your suffering, you should walk until the very end, and even at your last breath, still you must be faithful to God and at the mercy of God; only this is truly loving God, and only this is the strong and resounding testimony” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Only by Experiencing Painful Trials Can You Know the Loveliness of God). God’s words restored my strength. I could feel His constant guidance by my side. No matter how much I suffered, I would lean on God and get through it. I prayed to Him: “God, You know how much I can handle. No matter how they torture me, I won’t betray You. If I really can’t handle any more pain, I’d rather die than become a Judas.”
After the second round, I sat slumped on the ground. I’d barely recovered when an officer pulled me up by the collar and pushed me against a wall. He throttled my neck really hard and said savagely: “I’ll strangle you today!” Hardly able to breathe, I used all my strength to push him away from me. He stepped back and looked stunned. I also felt like it was surprising. After a month of torture, I was quite frail. That day I had already been through some torture and I had no strength left. I hadn’t imagined I’d still be able to push him off. I knew that it was God helping me and giving me strength. They kept torturing me until after one in the afternoon. One of the criminal officers said, enraged: “You’re so stubborn. We’ll keep going tomorrow and we’ll see how long you can hold out. If you don’t talk, we’ll interrogate you every day until you do!” At night I was lying on my bunk, bruised all over. The skin around my ribs was all cut up and it hurt to even breathe. My arms hurt so much that I couldn’t even take off my shirt. I lifted up my collar and saw that the wounds on my shoulders that had healed were back. My wrists had blood marks from the impression of the rope. Those demons would do anything, no matter how cruel, to force me to betray God and sell out my brothers and sisters. They were eager to kill me. They were a gang of truth-hating, God-hating demons! I thought about how the officer said they would continue interrogating me again the next day and I felt pangs of cowardice and fear: “Will the torture be even worse tomorrow? Will they torture me to death? These evil police won’t rest until I’ve told them about the church. But if I talk, I’ll be a Judas betraying God, and if I don’t talk, then it’s very likely that I’ll be tortured to death.” I prayed again and again to God: “Oh God, my stature is too small, I really can’t get through this torture all by myself, but I don’t want to be a Judas and betray You. Please help me and guide me.” After praying, I thought of God’s words: “Toward those who showed Me not the slightest loyalty during times of tribulation, I shall be merciful no more, for My mercy only extends so far. I have no liking, furthermore, for anyone who has once betrayed Me, much less do I like to associate with those who sell out the interests of their friends. This is My disposition, regardless of who the person may be. I must tell you this: Anyone who breaks My heart shall not receive clemency from Me a second time, and anyone who has been faithful to Me shall forever remain in My heart” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Prepare Sufficient Good Deeds for Your Destination). I thought on those words repeatedly. I knew that God’s disposition is righteous and tolerates no offense. If I betrayed God and sold out my brothers and sisters to avoid suffering, then I would be offending God’s disposition and I would ultimately suffer punishment. I thought about this whole experience. If it weren’t for God’s words guiding me, I wouldn’t have been able to get through the police’s brutal torture. That I am still alive is due to God’s protection. My life and death are in God’s hands. Without God’s permission, Satan cannot take my life. With that in mind, I had the determination to give my all to stand firm in my testimony to God. To my surprise, once I had the confidence to face the next interrogation, they didn’t come back. A month or so later, Lyu notified me: “Your case is closed. You’ve been given a year. Your family has arranged bail pending trial. Once you get home, you have to stay put for a year. When you’re called in, you have to show up at a moment’s notice.”
After my release, in order to avoid police surveillance, I had to leave home to fulfill my duty in other places. That arrest and persecution by the CCP helped me clearly see the demonic essence of its hatred and resistance of God. I hated it deeply. I also really felt God’s love and salvation for me. When I became nearly unable to handle any more suffering from the torture, God was always with me, watching over and protecting me, and using His words to guide me and give me faith and strength so that I could overcome those devils’ cruelty and have the determination to pledge my life to God and stand firm in my testimony to Him. Thanks be to God!