Nine Days and Nights in the Interrogation Room
By Song Yang, China
One afternoon in March 2008 when I was in a gathering with Brother Liu and three sisters, we suddenly heard a fast knocking on the door, then a dozen or so officers burst inside. Before we had a chance to react, one of them shouted, “Don’t move! Against the wall!” Two of them came and took the belts off me and Brother Liu, then tied our hands in front of us and pushed us up against the wall. The other ones started going room to room, searching everywhere. Before long they’d turned the place completely upside down, even looking under mattresses. They ended up finding a box full of books of. I was really nervous and my heart was pounding. I had no idea what kind of torture they had in store for us, so I prayed to God, “God, please give me faith and courage, and watch over me so I can stand witness.” I felt a little calmer after praying.
They took us to the National Security Brigade, where a head officer ordered me to stand against the wall and asked me really sharply, “What’s your name? What’s your duty? Who’s the church leader?” I didn’t make a sound, so he smacked me across the face. My ears started ringing and my face was smarting from the pain. Pacing back and forth with his arms behind his back, he said, “You’re a church deacon. You think we don’t know? We’ve been following you for six months. You’d better be straight with us, or else we really won’t go easy on you.” Then they took me to an office on the fourth floor, where I saw Brother Liu, handcuffed, squatting on the floor. The police put us back to back, with our hands side by side, and handcuffed us together, then ordered us to stand in a squat. Our legs started shaking before long and we were swaying back and forth, and the more our bodies moved, the tighter the handcuffs got. They were digging really painfully into the flesh. My legs were giving out after about 20 minutes of that and I was covered with sweat. Brother Liu nearly fell over. An officer came over, kicked him really hard, and ordered us to squat down. It was even worse this time around, with our backs pressed right up against each other and not daring to move our hands. I felt like I was gasping for air pretty soon, and my hands and feet became numb, they lost feeling. Our strength was completely spent after about half an hour, and we just collapsed down onto the floor. We used that chance to quickly grab the other’s hand and give each other a firm squeeze of encouragement.
More than an hour passed, and then they separated us and took just me into an office across the hallway. They handcuffed one of my hands to the arm of a wooden chair, then went off to sleep. I couldn’t sleep at all that night. I just kept thinking that the CCP hates believers more than anything. They torture us and beat us to death with impunity when they get their hands on us. They already knew I was a church deacon and not from the area, so I had no idea what they would do to me, or if I’d be able to get through it. These thoughts made me more and more afraid, so I silently prayed to God, “God, please guide me and give me faith and the resolve to withstand suffering, so I can overcome those evil officers’ torture.” Then I remembered something from God’s words: “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; … You must endure all; for Me, you must be ready to relinquish everything you possess and do everything you can to follow Me, and be ready to expend your all. Now is the time that I shall test you: Will you offer your loyalty to Me? Can you loyally follow Me to the end of the road?” (“Chapter 10” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning in). God’s words gave me faith and strength. Absolutely everything is in God’s hands, and the Communist Party is just one of His objects for service. This arrest and persecution was God’s trial, God’s test of me, to see if I had true faith in Him. I said a prayer in my heart, “Oh God, no matter how much I suffer in the flesh, I’ll never be a Judas, never betray You.”
They kept me handcuffed there from 10 or so that night all the way until 2 the next afternoon. Then an officer handcuffed my hands behind my back and took me downstairs, cursing the whole time. We got down to a courtyard where he suddenly gave me a rough push from behind, sending me staggering more than six feet ahead, then I fell hard onto the pavement and rolled. My arms were hurting really badly from the fall. Then he hauled me back up and kept walking with me, grumbling, “I’ll show you a good time today!” He kept kneeing me really hard in the thigh, which hurt so much that I couldn’t walk straight. They took me to the administrative building of a detention house for questioning, where I saw a few sets of finger-width iron chains on the floor, a couple of ropes, also as thick as a finger, and an iron bar. There were five or six officers just staring at me, and I realized they were going to torture me to extract a confession. I had this rush of panic and quickly said a prayer to God: “God, there’s no way I can stay strong through this on my own. Please stay by my side, and provide me with faith and strength.” I felt much more composed after my prayer. After a little bit, an Officer Liu with the provincial Public Security Department came in, looked me up and down, and then ordered the other officers, “You guys pair off into three groups. Each pair takes an 8-hour interrogation shift. Absolutely do not let him sleep.” Officer Liu sat me down in a metal chair after he’d said that, handcuffed my wrists to the arms, and then shackled my ankles. He started questioning me, “How many of you are there sharing the gospel? Who’s organized you into a group? How do you maintain contact? Who’s the leader?” I said, “I don’t know.” Two officers rushed up and started pummeling me with their fists on the head and back of the neck, only stopping when they got tired. They continued the interrogation after that. I was really sleepy because I hadn’t had any sleep for a full day and night, but they’d shout at me the moment I closed my eyes, or they’d bang the heating pipes with an iron rod, or smack the table really hard with their hands. They burst out laughing when they saw me looking scared and said, “You won’t talk but still want sleep? Don’t even think of getting out of here alive if you don’t open your mouth.” Then they made me get up and stand in a squat again. My hands and feet were still firmly secured to the chair, so I had to squat with it on my back. When I squatted down, the chair was resting on my bottom and the cuffs got tighter, and before long my hands and feet were numb, all four limbs were sore, and I couldn’t stand steadily. Seeing me unsteady on my feet, an officer came and kicked me in the leg, sending me toppling over along with the chair. Then he picked me up and made me keep squatting. Sometimes when I fell, the chair would fall on top of me. That happened quite a few times, leaving me utterly exhausted and every part of my body hurting. My wrists were swollen and black and blue from the handcuffs, and I couldn’t move my legs. I fell down and couldn’t get back up, then they finally let me stop. When I wanted to use the bathroom late that night, the police just undid one of my handcuffs and made me carry the chair on my back. I had to undo my pants with just one hand. It was really difficult. Two of them were standing at the bathroom entrance laughing at me, which was so humiliating. I was really angry.
On my third day there, another high-ranking officer came to question me. “How many people have you converted here? Whose houses have you been to? Is your leader’s name Zhang Lin?” While he barraged me with questions, I rushed to say a prayer, asking God to protect my heart and keep me from falling for Satan’s tricks. When he didn’t get the information he wanted, he said to his underlings, “Keep a close eye on him and don’t let him sleep. We’ll see how long he lasts.” Later on when they saw I couldn’t stand the sleep deprivation any longer, one officer made me squat with the iron chair again while another got a pot of freshly boiled water, filled up a paper cup, and put that on top of my head. My scalp was burning with pain and I instinctively flicked my head to get it off. They punched and kicked me, knocked me down, then dragged me back up, made me hold the chair on my back and a cup of water on my head, and said, “We’ll beat you to death if you knock it off again.” It was burning so much I really couldn’t handle it. My body jerked a bit and the cup fell again. They came at me again, punching and kicking. They tormented me this way over and over. I got all sorts of blisters on my scalp from the burns, then those blisters popped from even more scalding. The blister fluid was trickling down my forehead, and all that combined with the sweat was really agonizing. They boiled pot after pot of water and just kept putting those cups on my head, keeping this up for two or three hours. Finally, weak and limp all over, I just collapsed and couldn’t get up. They got their cellphones out, taking photos and mocking me, saying, “We’re putting these photos online for all you religious people to see. Let’s see if they dare to keep believing.” They kept laughing wickedly from time to time.
These words from God came to mind at the time: “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! … Now is the time: Man has long since gathered all his strength, he has devoted all his efforts and paid every price for this, to tear off the hideous face of this demon and allow people, who have been blinded, and who have endured every manner of suffering and hardship, to rise up from their pain and turn their backs on this evil old devil” (“Work and Entry (8)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). The CCP works madly against God and brutalizes believers. They’re a pack of anti-God demons who despise the truth. The more they tortured me, the more clearly I saw their demonic essence, and I really rejected and cursed the CCP from the heart and just wanted to stand witness for God, never betraying Him or selling out brothers and sisters. Once I set this resolve, that chair on my back, 15 pounds or more, didn’t feel heavy anymore. I heard one of the cops say, “We can’t even take this anymore. This guy’s really not doing bad with that chair.” I silently praised God when I heard that: “Oh God, You really are almighty! Without the guidance of Your words, I could never withstand Satan’s torture on my own.”
By the fourth day, I’d been handcuffed and shackled for so long that my legs and feet felt totally numb, my hands and feet were black and blue, swollen up like balloons, and the handcuffs were digging deep into the flesh. I was also so tired that I couldn’t force my eyes back open after they closed. They would smack the table and rattle the pipes to keep me from sleeping, and they were kicking my legs over and over. It was incredibly painful. Then, an officer who looked like he was in charge came in, sized me up, undid my handcuffs and shackles, and ordered me to stand up and do jumps. I hadn’t eaten for several days and they’d been torturing me nonstop, so I really didn’t have any strength. I could barely stand up. I had to support myself on the chair arms, and I fell after just a few jumps. They were laughing uproariously off to the side. It went on like this for more than an hour, with me jumping and falling. Then they handcuffed me back onto the chair and kept questioning me. One asked me, “Whose homes have you visited? Where do they live? You don’t need to go inside, just point the places out. Just give us one location and we’ll let you go.” I said, “I don’t know.” They asked me over and over, but left in resignation when I refused to answer.
Five days had passed then and I was depleted in body and mind. I couldn’t keep my eyes from closing. The pair of officers watching me kept smacking the table and banging the pipes, but my head was so heavy I couldn’t keep it up. One of them came over and pried my eyelids apart while another squirted juice from orange peels into my eyes, yelling, “You think you can sleep? You want some sleep?” There was a piercing pain in my eyes right away and tears started streaming down my face. I tried to put my head back, struggling desperately, but they held it firmly in place and kept squirting me in the eyes with the orange peel juice. I was dying to rub my eyes, but my hands were firmly handcuffed to the chair and I couldn’t move them. It was horrible. My eyes hurt so much I felt like I was going to go blind. The officers were ordering me to open my eyes, but I simply couldn’t. I called out to God with everything I had, “Oh God, I really can’t take this torture anymore. Please guide me.” I don’t know how long it took me, but I finally forced my eyes open. Then they carried a special chair made with a steel plate into the room. That plate was more than a quarter of an inch thick and it weighed about 70 pounds, and it had metal rings for the hands and feet. They put me on it and cuffed my hands and feet to it. I was wearing a thin cotton shirt and a pair of thin thermal pants, so sitting on the metal chair was really cold. I couldn’t stop worrying, afraid that if I had to stay on that steel chair, I’d end up paralyzed from a lack of circulation. And without letting me sleep day or night, they might torture me to death if that went on. So I said a prayer, “God, please give me faith and strength so that I can overcome the torment of those demons and stand witness.” I remembered God’s words after my prayer: “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” (“Chapter 36” of Interpretations of the Mysteries of God’s Words to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Then I understood that I was nervous because I feared death, because I treasured my life, and Satan was exploiting this weak point in me to get me to betray God. I couldn’t let its nasty trick succeed. My life was in God’s hands, so whether I ended up paralyzed and whether they tortured me to death was all in God’s hands. I was ready to submit to God’s arrangements, and I wouldn’t give in to Satan even if it meant my death. I felt more faith from God’s words and I wasn’t so terrified of dying. I felt a burst of strength and sitting in that chair wasn’t as uncomfortable anymore.
By the afternoon of the sixth day I’d gone several days and nights without any water, and my lips were so dry that the skin was flaking. They’d only given me some food a few times, so I was losing my mind with hunger and feeling really weak. The blisters on my scalp where they’d burned me hadn’t scabbed over so even the slightest bit of sweat really stung. That officer from the Public Security Department came back and, seeing I still hadn’t said anything, walked in front of me and said enticingly, “Just tell us about your church, and you won’t need to suffer anymore. Come on. Who’s the leader? Where’s the money kept? Just cooperate with us and we’ll get you a job as a cop, then you’ll have a good life for sure. Isn’t that a better future than following your God?” He went on, “There’ll be a reward if you help us find the upper leader in your church, and we won’t say you were the one to tell us. Who would know?” Outraged, I didn’t even acknowledge him. He saw I was unmoved, so he went on, feigning concern, “Even if you don’t think of yourself, think of your parents. They’re getting old. Could they take it if they knew what was going on with you? Everything will be fine if you just talk to us, and your family can live a good life.” I could see this was one of their tricks, so I responded severely, indignant, “I don’t know a thing. You can forget about getting anything out of me.” He grabbed a bottle of water in rage and started hitting me with it all over my face and head. I got dizzy, my eyes blurred, and my face went numb while my ears were ringing. I don’t know how long that went on, then he said angrily, “We’re bringing your parents in tomorrow.” I retorted, “Even so, I’m not talking. You can beat me to death, I’ll never betray God!” He yelled back, “You’re a lost cause! Hopeless! You’re a total religious nut!” I was so grateful to God when I saw that devil humiliated in his failure.
On the seventh day, they kept torturing me and keeping me awake. The nonstop torment, day and night, had left me weak. I felt like the world was spinning and my vision was blurry. I was even hallucinating, and sometimes the things I saw in front of me were overlapped or distorted. It felt like I was in a bunch of different places. In my daze, someone twisted my ear and barked, “Pretending you’re dead? Talk or you won’t make it another day. Let your God come save you!” But all I could feel was pain, and I couldn’t open my eyes. Then I lost consciousness. After who knows how long, I came to and discovered my clothing was completely soaked. I realized the police were splashing me with cold water to wake me up. On the ninth day, of the six officers who were taking turns watching me, three came down with a cold. An officer came up to me, listless, and said, “We can’t take it anymore. Just make something up and write it down so we don’t have to suffer along with you.” I refused. After that they wrote down a few random names and addresses and stopped questioning me. Seeing Satan humiliated and defeated, I was so grateful to God. I’d been able to withstand all those days of torture entirely because of God’s protection. His words were giving me faith and strength, otherwise I would have been tortured to death long ago. I personally experienced what God meant when He said: “God is never absent from the heart of man, and He lives among man at all times. He has been the driving force of man’s living, the root of man’s existence, and a rich deposit for man’s existence after birth. He causes man to be reborn, and enables him to tenaciously live in his every role. Thanks to His power and His inextinguishable life force, man has lived for generation after generation, throughout which the power of God’s life has been the mainstay of man’s existence, and God has paid a price that no ordinary man has ever paid. God’s life force can prevail over any power; moreover, it exceeds any power. His life is eternal, His power extraordinary, and His life force cannot be overwhelmed by any created being or enemy force” (“Only Christ of the Last Days Can Give Man the Way of Eternal Life” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
In October, the Party gave me a year of labor for “using an unlawful xie jiao organization to disrupt social order, and cross-provincial dissemination of a xie jiao.” After my release, I found out that my family had been working their connections and spent over $3,000 to get me out early, otherwise I’d have been in the labor camp even longer. I saw from being arrested and persecuted by the Communist Party that it is an enemy of God, it madly fights God, arrests and persecutes believers, that it’s a reincarnation of evil spirits and demons. I came to hate it with everything in me and completely break ties with it. At the same time, I could really feel God’s love. When I was being tortured, it was God’s words that provided me with faith and strength and allowed me to get through Satan’s horrible persecution. This was a true experience of the authority and might of God’s words and it has made my faith in God stronger.