By Zhang Lin, China
One afternoon, in December 2012, I was on the bus out of town to fulfill my duty. I had fallen asleep when my phone rang. I went to answer it and a police officer said: “It’s her.” I didn’t even have a chance to react before he came over and took my phone and my bag. I asked them: “What are you doing? Do you have an arrest warrant?” Another police officer yelled back: “Shut up!” They forced me off the bus and into their car. I didn’t know where they were taking me or what they were going to do to me. I felt scared, so I quickly prayed to God: “May God be with me and give me faith and strength to stand firm in my testimony.”
At the station, the officers brought me into an interrogation room and handcuffed me to a chair. Both my hands and feet were cuffed and I couldn’t move. They interrogated me: “Are you a leader? Who converted you? Where were you coming from, where were you going?” I didn’t answer, so they started to threaten me: “If you don’t confess, we’ll strip you down, pour cold water on you, and leave you outside to freeze.” I thought about how I’ve had a weak constitution ever since I was a kid and I really hate the cold, and I also have heart disease. It was the dead of winter, and I was cold indoors even wearing a down jacket. If they really stripped me down, poured cold water on me, and dragged me outside, then I would quickly freeze, and die before the sun came up. The more I thought about it, the more scared I was, and at that moment I thought of: “Be not afraid; with My support, who could ever block this road? Remember this! Do not forget! All that occurs is by My good intention, and everything is under My observation. Can you follow My word in all that you say and do? When the trials of fire come upon you, will you kneel down and call out? Or will you cower, incapable of moving forward?” (“Chapter 10” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning in ). God’s words gave me faith and strength and I made a silent prayer to God: “Oh God! Everything is under Your control. You allowed these police officers to arrest me today, and I will lean on You. I’d rather die than become a Judas and betray You. I will stand firm in my testimony.” Seeing I refused to talk, they forced off my down jacket and poured cold water over my head. I was shivering from head to toe. Later on, they even watched me to make sure I didn’t sleep.
The next morning, three people from a special task force came in. One of them looked at the interrogation record and then yelled at me: “We know you’re a leader, where you’ve been these past few days and where you were going, so hurry up and come clean!” As he said that, he came over and slapped my face with leather gloves on, leaving my face stinging with pain. Then, they took me to another room that didn’t have a surveillance camera, pushed me down on a stool, cuffed my hands behind my back and stuffed my socks into my mouth. They picked up slippers off the floor and whacked me across the face, cursing at me as they hit me. After they had hit me for a while, they took the socks out of my mouth and asked me gently: “You’re so stubborn—you won’t say a word. Do you need more of a beating? Why suffer like this? Could we beat you this way without evidence? What’s your duty? Just spit it out so you don’t have to suffer any more.” Seeing that I wasn’t going to make a sound, exasperated, they stuffed the socks back in my mouth. Two of them walked to either side of me and pried my legs apart by wedging their knees between mine while another used an electric baton, brutally shocking my private parts. I was in unbearable pain and I blacked out not long after. When I came to, somebody was hitting me in the face and yelling: “Stop playing dead.” Seeing me awake, they started using the electric baton on me again. They shocked me like that a lot of times, shocking me until I passed out, then hitting me to wake me up. The last time I came to, I was lying face up on the concrete floor and a man stomped on my face, hard. My face was wrenched down against the floor while some of them sat at the table smoking and eating sunflower seeds. One of them, named Liu, said to me with a sunflower shell in his hand: “I don’t need to be working this hard. I can just stick this shell under your fingernails and you’ll have had enough.” With an evil smile he asked another officer: “Did you use that trick? Take an ice cube and shove it in her down there, then she’ll be done. A taste of that would do it.” Then they had a big laugh. Looking at them, at that gang of rascals and beasts, made me extremely angry and disgusted. Then, Liu said to me: “If you don’t fess up, we’ll send you off and there they won’t be as nice to you as we’ve been. You’ll be in a little dark room, a room where it doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman, they’ll hang you up and beat you, even beat your underwear off.” I felt so scared hearing them talk about those terrible things, some of which I had seen on TV, like torturing people to within an inch of their lives, until they wish they were dead. I thought to myself: I told them I have heart problems, but they’re still beating and torturing me. They don’t care if I live or die. If they really tortured me like that, could I physically take it? I kept praying and calling out to God, asking Him to be with me, to lead me to stand firm in my testimony and not give in to Satan. That’s when I thought of God’s words that say: “Do not fear, theof hosts will surely be with you; He stands behind you and He is your shield” (“Chapter 26” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Knowing that God is my shield, I didn’t feel so scared anymore. Seeing that I still wasn’t talking, they said: “If you confess, we’ll let you go. We’ll go get some food and drinks, and you won’t have to suffer anymore, and neither will we.” An officer who seemed like the leader said cruelly: “If she doesn’t come clean, pull out all her fingernails and her toenails, and her teeth, too.” Hearing that, my heart seized again, and I quickly prayed to God: “God, my life was granted by You, and life and death are in Your hands. I am not asking to live, only that under Satan’s torture and threats I don’t betray You or my brothers and sisters, and that I can stand witness and humiliate Satan.” After I prayed, I felt calm. No matter how they threatened or bribed me, I wouldn’t say a word. I was tortured by the police that way for two days and one night. My whole body was weak and my heart was pounding with anxiety. They realized that I wasn’t going to say anything, so they brought me to a detention house.
There, a female officer brought me into a room then forced me to take off my clothes and turn around twice in a circle. Seeing black marks on my private parts, she asked me if I had some sort of disease. I said I didn’t have a disease, that they were from the officers shocking me. She didn’t say anything. Afterward, she said to the officers who’d brought me there: “She has a lot of big black marks on her private parts that aren’t from us. You guys should sign that they’re not from you, either.” Hearing their exchange really outraged me. Around 8 in the evening, those special team members came back to interrogate me. I felt my heart jump again, so I prayed to God right away: “Oh, God! I don’t know how they will torture me today, please be with me and give me faith and strength.” After praying, I thought about 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. Although, in the definition of the ‘flesh’ it is said that the flesh is corrupted by Satan, if people truly give themselves over, and are not driven by Satan, then no one can get the better of them” (“Chapter 36” of Interpretations of the Mysteries of God’s Words to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words gave me faith. I was willing to sacrifice my life, to die rather than betray God and sell out my brothers and sisters. It felt like I had the words “prepared to die” written large on me, and I felt ready to go up against the torture.
Officer Liu interrogated me: “What is your alias? What do you know about the church? Hurry up and come clean! You’ll save us the effort and yourself the misery.” I said: “I have nothing to come clean about.” Exasperated, they began to use cold torture. It was December, the coldest it gets in Northeast China. The officers shoved me to the window, took off my coat, cuffed my hands behind my back, and pulled my shirt up around my shoulders so my exposed back was against the window. Outside the window was a thick layer of snow. Gust after gust of icy wind blew in—it was bitterly cold. Then they pulled my pants up above my knees, took off my socks, and put my feet in a basin of water. Then, they poured icy water over my head and soaked my socks with water and rubbed them over my legs, from the bottom of my feet to my knees, even putting a soaked rag outside the window until it froze and then placing it on my stomach. I felt the coldness shoot through my whole body and every inch of my back was in indescribable agony. Then, they took out a photograph and asked me to identify who it was, saying: “You’re always working together. You can’t say you don’t know him.” I knew it was Brother Wang—we fulfilled our duty together. We’d spoken on the phone a day or two before my arrest. From the yellow vest he was wearing in the picture, I knew he had been arrested, too. I thought, “The police already know that we know each other, so if I say I don’t know him, they won’t believe me. What should I do?” I kept praying and calling on God. I thought of God’s words that say: “You should not be afraid of this and that; no matter how many difficulties and dangers you might face, you are capable of remaining steady before Me, unobstructed by any hindrance, so that My will may be carried out unimpeded. This is your duty” (“Chapter 10” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words helped me feel more confident. No matter how much the police know about the church, I couldn’t identify my brother. And I definitely couldn’t give them any information about him. I didn’t say a word, so they started to threaten me, saying: “Don’t be so stubborn. He wouldn’t say anything at first, either. After we’d used a metal hook on his crotch a few times, he couldn’t handle any more and he talked.” Feeling angry and disgusted, I turned my face away. They walked over and, wearing leather gloves, started slapping me viciously across the face. Afraid that my face would swell up too big for the people at the detention house to accept, they would rub my face with cold water after a little while, then start up again. I felt something in my mouth, and when I went to spit, only blood came out. They didn’t stop, they would rest for a moment and then keep hitting me. They beat me until I was dizzy and seeing stars. My back was still facing the open window and they kept rubbing it with cold water. My entire body was consumed in waves of indescribable pain. They kept hitting me and then pouring some cold water on my head, then hitting me again and pouring more, torturing me like that all night. I lost feeling in my body and I was going out of consciousness when I thought, “Am I going to die?” I vaguely felt someone open my eyelids and lift me to one side. A few people were gathered around me doing something, and then I blacked out. I don’t know how long it had been when I heard someone saying: “It’s fine, she won’t die.” With a lot of effort I opened my eyes and saw them rubbing my hands and feet, and I slowly regained feeling in my body.
It was daytime, and there was a new group of people watching me and not letting me sleep. Then, somebody walked in from the room next door, took a picture of me, and left. I heard someone next door say loudly: “Who is this person?” I didn’t hear an answer, but after that I could hear the sound of someone being hit. I could hear that it was a sister screaming miserably. I felt like my heart was cut through with a knife. I knew that the sister chose to suffer a beating instead of selling me out. I felt so terrible and wished that they would come beat me instead, and let the sister go. But I could only pray for her silently and ask God to protect her and give her faith. They tortured her like that the whole day.
At night, the officers came to interrogate me again. One of them tried to persuade me: “You might not care about yourself, but think about them. If you admit you’re a leader, we’ll just sentence you. They’re not important—we’ll let them go. If you don’t come clean, then all forty or so will be lined up and ordered to identify you. The ones who refuse to will end up getting beaten like in the room next door.” Hearing that, I remembered the sister’s heart-piercing screams from earlier that day. There were also those brothers and sisters they’d shown on the computer, including two older sisters in their 60s who were seriously ill. I thought to myself: “I should just confess and let them sentence me alone so the brothers and sisters don’t have to suffer.” When I admitted that I was a church leader, he took off my handcuffs right away, poured me a cup of water, and asked me urgently: “Then who’s the other leader? You’re a leader, so you definitely know where the church’s money is, right?” I looked at him and thought: The church’s money is an offering to God by God’s chosen people. It has nothing to do with you demons. Wanting to seize that is shamelessly evil! Seeing that I wasn’t answering, they kept asking until it was nearly dawn, but they never got anything from me and sent me back to the detention house. But once I was there, I couldn’t sleep. Thinking about their demonic schemes, they were never going to only sentence me and let the other brothers and sisters go. I was so stupid letting myself be fooled. Also, I admitted that I was a leader, which put all the brothers and sisters who I talked to on the phone in danger. I really hated myself. Seeing how treacherous the police were, I had to pray and lean on God even more, otherwise I could fall for more of Satan’s tricks.
On the evening of the 24th, the police brought in my younger brother. Feeling kind of panicked, I prayed to God repeatedly: “Oh, God! The police definitely do not have good intentions by bringing my family here. They’re trying to lure me into betraying You. God, I know that I can’t do this on my own, may You watch over me and protect me, and guide me to overcome Satan’s temptations.” After I prayed, I felt much calmer. When my brother saw me, he cried and said: “This is getting out of hand. I spoke to a bunch of lawyers and spent a lot on consultation fees, and they all said they couldn’t help you. The Public Security Bureau told me that you’ll be sentenced to at least three years. Just tell them what you know.” I didn’t say anything. Later, my brother told me that the police searched my house, but they didn’t find anything. I remembered I had some books of God’s words there, and the police not finding them was a blessing from God. My brother kept trying to persuade me and when the police saw that I wasn’t saying anything or even crying, they threatened me: “If you don’t fess up, you’ll do time and your nephew can’t join the army when he grows up. You’re hurting yourself and your family. You need to think about others.” I knew that they were using my emotions to lure me into a trap. I don’t have any kids, so they used my nephew to threaten me. I thought to myself, “What happens to my nephew when he grows up is in God’s hands, it has nothing to do with you. You even want to get the church’s money from me—think again.” I still didn’t say anything.
In the special task force’s next interrogation, they showed me a video of their deputy director with a host sister. I was shocked. How had they found her? They asked me: “Surprised? Do you know her?” I said, “No.” They got angry and cursed, “You don’t know her? Why’d she say she recognized you from a photo?” I wondered if she really could have sold me out, and what I should do. I suddenly thought of God’s words: “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” (“Chapter 3” of God’s Words to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words helped me realize that this was a trick of Satan. No matter if she betrayed me or not, I couldn’t sell her out. Identifying her would make me a Judas and it would be a betrayal before God. I said confidently, “I don’t know this person.” Exasperated, the police said: “Let me tell you the truth, you not saying anything won’t do you any good. We have already pinned everything we know onto you, and we’ll say it was you who sold out. Even if you got out, your church wouldn’t want you anymore.” I felt kind of concerned at that. If they really did that, would the church really think I was a Judas and not want me anymore? But then I thought, God can see into people’s hearts, so He will know if I’ve sold out or not. I believe God is righteous and knows everything. I still said that I didn’t know her. This embarrassment sent the officers into a rage. They pushed me to the window, took off my coat, opened up my shirt, rolled up my pants, and poured cold water on me again. Up to the morning of the second day, my hands and feet had lost almost all feeling. My feet swelled up to the point I couldn’t even wear slippers. They kept interrogating me about where the church’s money was and trying to get me to name my brothers and sisters. I didn’t say anything, so they kept torturing me with cold. One officer said viciously: “It doesn’t matter if you believers die. If you don’t come clean, I’ll kill you.” I thought, “Then you can kill me—I will never betray God or the brothers and sisters.” Later, I found out from them that the sister had never betrayed me. They had been making up lies to trick me. From the bottom of my heart, I thanked God for protecting me from falling into Satan’s trap.
I was tormented like that for two days. Once, a fifty or sixty year old officer walked in with a depraved smile on his face, and asked Officer Liu, “So have you used that trick?” Liu said, “Not yet.” The other officers left and he came over in front of me, put his hands down my shirt, and squeezed my nipples hard. It hurt tremendously but my hands were cuffed behind me and I couldn’t move, so I had to endure the abuse. I was enraged, and thought to myself: The more shameless and cruel you are, the clearer your evil is to me. No matter how you torture and humiliate me, I will not betray God. Steeled, I gritted my teeth and turned my face to the side. Then, he shifted toward my belly and touched me for probably 20 minutes, and he didn’t take his hand away until the two officers interrogating me came back. After that, they started torturing me with cold again, same as before. Each time they pushed me against the window to freeze for a few hours. When they saw I was frozen stiff, they shoved me to the side and closed the window to let me warm up a bit. When I was warm, they froze me again. I was so cold that my teeth were chattering against each other and my whole body was shivering to the point that the iron chair started rattling. Seeing me like this, they mocked me. I was tortured over and over, so my body felt extremely weak, sometimes I even fell asleep while being tortured. Seeing that I wouldn’t talk no matter what, they started threatening me, saying: “If you still refuse to talk, we’ll put the crime unit on your case, and they won’t be as nice as we’ve been.” I was so angry that I asked them: “What law does my faith break? Did I commit murder, or arson or robbery for you to torture me like this?” They awkwardly replied, quietly: “You didn’t break the law.” Then they just walked out. I thought to myself: I just believe in God, I didn’t break any law. The Communist Party has made such a fuss and used all kinds of despicable methods against me. Now the crime unit is coming to interrogate me. They really won’t rest until I’m dead! I thought of God’s words that say: “For thousands of years this has been the land of filth. It is unbearably dirty, misery abounds, ghosts run rampant everywhere, tricking and deceiving, making groundless accusations, being ruthless and vicious, trampling this ghost town and leaving it littered with dead bodies; the stench of decay covers the land and pervades the air, and it is heavily guarded. Who can see the world beyond the skies? … 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). The Communist Party declares to the world that there is religious freedom and that their citizens have personal freedom, but in reality they don’t allow people to believe in God and follow the right path. They use all kinds of brutal and despicable methods to persecute God’s chosen people. They’re vainly attempting to destroy God’s work of the last days. I saw that the Party is an evil demon that resists God and harms the people! The more they persecuted me, the more I would reject and forsake them. I prayed to God again, putting my life and death in His hands no matter what unit they put on my case. My breath was given to me by God, so I was willing to entrust my life to God and submit to His plans.
During the next interrogations, no matter what they did to me, I prayed to God and leaned on Him, so I didn’t say anything. Then, I saw they were getting less and less eager to interrogate me, while my faith was growing stronger and stronger. They used all kinds of tricks and cruel methods to torture me for about 26 days. Another inmate said to me, “I sold drugs, and got brought in and beaten for one night, when you believers get caught, you get beaten like crazy!”
Later, they realized that they weren’t going to get any information about the church from me and my brother paid 20,000 yuan to pull some strings, so they granted me bail pending trial. I was emaciated when I was released and I had some serious rheumatism because of the cold torture. My joints were all in pain and I couldn’t lift my neck. The Communist Party’s cruelty left a deep mark on my body and mind. During that time, although I had suffered a lot, I truly felt that God was always by my side protecting me, using His words to guide me and give me faith and strength so I could overcome the devil’s cruelty. I am full of gratitude and praise for God and have faith to follow God my whole life, to expend myself for Him and repay His love.
1. “Making groundless accusations” refers to the methods by which the devil harms people.
2. “Heavily guarded” indicates that the methods by which the devil afflicts people are especially vicious, and control people so much that they have no room to move.