The Police Demand Cash
By Gao Hui, China
This all happened in July of 2009. One day, Sister Liu rushed over to my house to tell me that our church leader had been arrested and the police had seized a portion of the receipts from the church donations. When I heard this I became very anxious. At the time, my family was holding a portion of the church’s donations, and my and my husband’s names were listed on the receipts. If those receipts were to fall into the hands of the police, they would definitely arrest us and seize the money. So we hurriedly transferred the church money elsewhere. Only a few days later, the village public security chief led nearly 20 officers to raid our house. One of the officers held up a donation receipt and asked: “Did you write this? Hand over the 250,000 yuan that you’re holding for the church now!” When I saw the receipt, I became a bit panicked and so I immediately prayed to God: “Dear God, please give me faith and strength. I won’t give away the offerings or betray You.” After praying, I thought ofwhich 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?” (“Chapter 1” of God’s Words to the Entire Universe in ). I thought to myself: “All things are in God’s hands, I must rely on God to face up to this ordeal.” The police officer then asked me: “Who gave you the funds to hold? Give us the money now!” At the time, I was so upset. I thought to myself: “These donations are God’s chosen people’s offerings to God. What claim do you hold over them? Why should I tell you anything?” Then I said: “The money has already been taken away.” As soon as the officer heard this, he glared at me angrily and said: “Guess you’re not going to tell us the truth unless we do this the hard way!” Then he grabbed my husband by the head and slammed it against the wall while asking again where the money was located. I was angry and upset. My husband had some health problems related to a prior car accident, so he really couldn’t take this kind of abuse. Then the public security chief said to the officer: “This one could pass out and die very easily.” Not wanting to have a murder on his hands, the officer finally stopped. They then took me to another room, handcuffed me to a scooter and harshly questioned me: “Where did you put the 250,000? If you tell us, then we won’t arrest you and there will be no damage to your reputation. But if you don’t tell us, you’re in for it!” When I didn’t respond, more than ten officers started frantically searching our house. They went through the inside and outside of our house, all the closets and under the beds, and even took off the back covers of the TV and washing machine to look inside. Some of the officers crawled around on the ground tapping on the floor tiles while others split up and tapped on all the walls. They were looking for the donations and so when they tapped on an area that sounded hollow, they would break it open to check. Soon after, I heard someone excitedly yell: “We found it, we found it!” An officer ran over with the bag full of money in his arms and then they started counting. In total, they found 121,500. I told the officers: “This is our family’s savings.” But the officers just ignored me. Since they still hadn’t found all 250,000, they continued searching. They searched through every little nook and cranny. They took apart the dog house and smashed our marble table to pieces. Even the chimney on our roof was destroyed. They pulled up the flooring in several rooms and dug holes all throughout the courtyard. I watched on helplessly as they turned our whole house upside down. I was infuriated: “No despicable act was too low for the CCP in their quest to seize the church money. What a bunch of demons!” After his car accident in 2002, my husband was unable to continue doing heavy manual work and so I became our family’s chief breadwinner. Those years, we’d been as frugal as possible and had worked very hard to save up that money. What were we supposed to do now that the police had taken all of it? Our son was an adult now and was getting ready to get married. Now we didn’t even have any money to throw a wedding for him. I really didn’t know how I would deal with this setback. All I could do was pray to God and ask for His guidance. After praying, I thought of when Satan tempted Job. Overnight, all of his livestock were stolen. The wealth that he had accumulated over many years was gone in an instant and all ten of his children died. His entire body also broke out in sores but he never complained and even said “Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah” (Job 1:21), standing witness and humiliating Satan. The officers’ wild searching of our house and seizing of our money was Satan’s temptation and assault, as well as God’s way of testing us. I should rely on God and use my faith to get through whatever hardships might be coming. No matter what, I can’t give away the offerings and must stand witness for God.
The police searched my house until 2 or 3 am of the following morning. They spent 7 hours rummaging around, but couldn’t find any more money. My husband was beaten so badly that he passed out, and I was taken to the armed police reception center for interrogation. There were already four or five plainclothes policemen waiting in the room I was taken into. They were fierce, unsavory looking types and they stared at me with sinister grins. I was terrified and my hands shook uncontrollably. I hurriedly prayed to God and asked that He give me faith. After praying, I thought of how Daniel was framed and thrown into a lions’ den, but, thanks to God’s protection, the lions didn’t eat him. All is in God’s hands. Satan may be cruel and vicious, but God sets its boundaries. I must rely on God and stand witness. Then a political commissar from the public security bureau surnamed Du came in holding a piece of paper. Without even telling me what was written, he asked me to sign the paper. I wouldn’t sign and so he took a foot-long plastic club and started clubbing me on my hands and mouth. After just a few swings of his club, my hands and mouth both swelled up. Then he said to two of the officers standing by me: “Don’t let her sleep. In two days she’ll have a breakdown and then she’ll tell us everything.” Then he turned to me and threatened: “If you don’t tell us where the money is, I’ll tear down your house!” This made me very worried. My husband has been ill these years, and then, after we’d finally furnished and decorated our house the police had laid it to waste in just a matter of hours. These officers were cruel and capable of anything—if I didn’t tell them where the church money was located, would they really tear my house down? Would they torture me to death? I prayed continually to God and then’ words came to mind: “Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). God’s words gave me faith and courage. My life is in God’s hands. No matter how cruel Satan may be, it can only ravage my body, and without God’s permission, they can’t do anything to me. If God permits the police to take my life and destroy my house, I’m willing to submit. After realizing this, I didn’t feel as scared. The officers then dragged me over to a chair and handcuffed me to it. The second my eyes began to droop they’d kick me hard in the legs and so I didn’t get any sleep that whole night.
On the morning of the next day, several officers took turns interrogating me on the location of the church money. Looking exasperated, that Commissar Du asked me: “What happened to the money you were holding? It says 250,000 on the receipt, why was only some of it found? Where’s the rest of the money?” I lowered my head and didn’t say anything. He kept urgently pressing me: “Did you spend the rest of the money? Tell me now!” I thought to myself: “We would never embezzle offerings to God. People that embezzle offerings to God are demons and will be cursed and punished in hell!” When I still didn’t respond, Commissar Du got up and started nervously pacing back and forth. Then he tried to persuade me in a softer tone to give away the location of the money. He said: “You should just tell us already. As soon as you tell us, you can reunite with your family.” Then he said: “I did some military service over by where you live, we’re practically fellow townsman. Just tell us right now and we won’t have any problems.” I thought to myself: “These officers have all kinds of cunning schemes. I can’t fall for their tricks!” Then another officer asked me: “Weren’t you holding 250,000? There’s only 121,500 remaining, so how many years are you planning to take to return the rest of the money to us? As long as you write a letter of guarantee, we’ll let you go home now. What do you say?” At around 1 in the morning, another officer surnamed Chen came in. He questioned me over and over about the location of the funds and said: “Do you know where this money came from? This is the hard-earned money of the people, and it should be returned to the people.” Looking at his ugly face, I felt positively sick to my stomach. This money was earned through the hard work of God’s chosen people who had received God’s grace and then offered to God. It stood to reason that these offerings were for God. This money had nothing to do in the least with the “hard-earned money of the people.” This was just a bald-faced lie! This performance by the CCP police allowed me to see their evil that much more clearly. They disgusted me and I despised them. I wanted to ignore them even more then.
When I still wouldn’t talk, two officers traded off slapping me in the face more times than I could count. They slapped me until they were exhausted and then they started beating me with a plastic folder. My head was swimming, my vision blurred and there was a searing pain in my cheeks. Then they shocked my handcuffs with an electric baton. I felt a current of electricity pulse through my whole body and every nerve seemed to go numb. I felt I’d be better off dead. But they still didn’t let up. One of the officers kicked me with his booted feet and stamped on my feet with his heel. It was excruciatingly painful. After the beatings and torture, I felt completely exhausted and could feel my head spinning like I was on the brink of death. I prayed ceaselessly to God, pleading that He give me the resolve to endure the suffering and stand witness. After praying, aof God’s words came to mind: “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” (“How to Be Perfected” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs). Yeah. Our flesh does suffer to a degree when we’re tortured, but God uses this suffering to perfect our faith. No matter how the police torture and brutalize me, I must rely on God and my faith to get through whatever may come.
Then the officer ordered me to stand, but my hands were handcuffed to the armrests of the chair, so I couldn’t. All I could do was bend at the waist with the over 30 pound chair hanging from my wrists. The officer then shook the chair vigorously, causing the handcuffs to sink deep into my wrists. It was incredibly painful. He cracked a sinister smile and said: “This is your own fault, you can’t blame us.” I closed my eyes and tried to fight off the pain as their maniacal laughter rang throughout the room. I despised that pack of demons. By then, I’d been cuffed to that chair for a whole day and night. My head was pounding and dizzy and my back was aching and sore. I felt like I was coming apart at the seams and I didn’t know how much longer I could hold on. So I called out to God continually in my heart: “Dear God! I don’t know how much longer I can hold on. Please guide me and give me the faith and strength to stand witness.” After praying, a passage of God’s words came to mind: “My work among the group of people of the last days is an unprecedented enterprise, and thus, so that My glory may fill the cosmos, all people must suffer the last hardship for Me. Do you understand My will? This is the final requirement I make of man, which is to say, I hope that all people can bear strong, resounding testimony to Me before the great red dragon, that they can offer themselves up for Me a final time, and fulfill My requirements one last instance. Can you truly do this?” (“Chapter 34” of God’s Words to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh). I could feel God’s hope and encouragement through His words. It was in the midst of this hardship that I should stand witness before Satan. I should endure the pain and suffering, stand witness and humiliate Satan! With the guidance of God’s words, I felt as though God was always with me and the pain diminished a little. After a night of torture and beatings, my entire body was left battered and bruised. My face was covered in bruises and my feet had swollen up. I was in an incredibly weak condition. The officer working the next shift had seen enough and said: “These guys went way overboard. These farmers have a hard enough time making a living and now they’ve stolen so much of their money.”
On the third day, Commissar Du came to interrogate me again about my faith as well as the location of the 250,000 yuan in donations. I said: “The 250,000 yuan has already been removed. That was my family’s money you took.” Commissar Du immediately turned around and said to the person making the written record: “Don’t write that down.” I asked: “Why not?” He got angry and shot up from his chair, slamming the table and yelling: “Who’s doing the interrogation here? What’s the name of the person who took the money? Where did they go?” When I still didn’t say anything, he said viciously: “If you don’t tell me now, I’ll see to it that your children never get a job. Your family will never survive this!” At first I was very worried. My children were still young—if the CCP deprived them of work, how would they fend for themselves in the future? After prayer, I thought of God’s words: “The fate of man is controlled by the hands of God. You are incapable of controlling yourself: Despite man always rushing and busying himself on his own behalf, he remains incapable of controlling himself. If you could know your own prospects, if you could control your own fate, would you still be a created being?” (“Restoring the Normal Life of Man and Taking Him to a Wonderful Destination” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). After pondering over God’s words, I felt much more grounded. My children’s future was in God’s hands. The great red dragon had no say in the matter. I should rely on God to stand witness. As for my children’s future and the fate of my family, God had preordained all of that long ago. I was willing to submit to God’s orchestrations and arrangements.
I didn’t know they were forcing my son to borrow money until the fourth day after my arrest. That day they brought my son in with the public security chief. When my son saw my face all bruised and swollen, he started to cry and said: “Mom, don’t worry. We won’t have the wedding now and I’ll find a way to borrow some money to get you out of here.” When I heard him say that, I shuddered inside and felt so awful. After that, Commissar Du ordered the public security chief, saying: “You need to help resolve this money issue too.” And then, he strangely added: “Do they have any relatives? See if they can borrow money from relatives.” The public security chief nodded and bowed saying: “When I get back, I’ll talk to her sister and brother and get her husband to figure something out.” Another officer pointed at me and said: “You see, look how well your son and the public security chief treat you.” Seeing how greedy they were, I angrily replied: “I don’t keep in touch with my brother and sister. Don’t get in contact with them.” Another officer yelled: “Doesn’t the receipt say 250,000? We only found 120,000, so no matter what, you’re going to have to come up with the difference.” I was up against a wall and had no other options so I said: “Then just sell my house.” The public security chief gave me a scornful glare and said: “Your place isn’t worth much. Do you really think you can make up the difference by selling it?” When the officer heard this, he went back to forcing my son to borrow money. My son had no choice but to agree. He left in tears. I was so angry then—the great red dragon is so lowly and despicable. They’re always claiming they’re for religious freedom, but in reality they suppress, arrest and brutalize the faithful. They use whatever means necessary to steal our money, plunder God’s offerings, leaving people destitute. I saw clearly that the great red dragon is just a demon that resists God and brutalizes mankind. This all strengthened my resolve to follow God. I couldn’t help but start singing a hymn in my head: “Through trials and tribulations, I finally awoke. I saw that Satan is despicable, cruel, and evil. Flames of rage were kindled in my heart. I pledged my life to forsake the great red dragon and bear witness to God” (“I Pledge Unto Death to Follow God Faithfully” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs). No matter how Satan brutalizes me, I would stand witness and humiliate Satan.
In the next few days, they used a different form of torture. They cuffed me to a chair and didn’t let me sleep or eat while repeatedly interrogating me with all the questions they’d asked before. “Where is the 250,000? Who took it? What’s the name of the person who took the money? What do they look like?” I was a nervous wreck and on edge all day, every day. On the eighth day, when Commissar Du still couldn’t get a word out of me, he brought in my son again and told him they wouldn’t let me go until he gave them 130,000. Frowning worriedly, my son said: “I’ve tried everyone, but I just can’t raise that amount.” He also forced my son to ask my daughter for money. I angrily blurted out: “We’re just a simple family of farmers and my husband has been sick for many years, where are we supposed to come up with that much money?” But that Commissar Du just ignored me and, glaring at my son, said: “Go back and find a way to get the money.”
On the tenth day, they realized they weren’t going to get any valuable information from me, and so they let me go home. As I was leaving, they also warned me that I’d better give them the rest of the 250,000 as soon as possible. They also said: “As for the person that asked you to hold the donations, if you find them for us, we’ll give you back your money.” I thought to myself: “They’re just using the money to try to coerce me into selling out my brothers and sisters. I’m not going to let that happen.” It was only later that I found out that my son had given the police over 80,000 yuan to get me released.
We weren’t well off to start with, so when the police took our savings, our lives became even harder. My husband couldn’t work and I was suffering from tremors in my hands. After being tortured by the police, my tremors got even worse. I couldn’t even prepare a meal, let alone go out and work. Without any source of income, we barely had enough money to buy vegetables, noodles and daily necessities. One time, I wanted to buy some toilet paper, but I didn’t have a dime left in my wallet. The CCP had taken all our money and now we didn’t even have enough to get by. How were we supposed to live like this? Whenever I thought of this, I felt so depressed. On top of that, the police would call us every now and then to summon us. It got so I would get nervous every time I heard the phone ring. Making things even worse, our relatives and friends avoided us like the plague because they didn’t want to be implicated. And the people in village were always judging us. Sometimes it was really more than I could take. I’d feel so anguished and depressed that I couldn’t help but go out by myself into the fields and cry. As I cried I prayed to God, saying: “Dear God! I feel so weak in this situation and don’t know how I should get through it. I pray that You guide me and give me faith and strength.” After praying, I thought of a passage of God’s words: “The path God guides us along does not go straight up, but is a winding road full of potholes; God says, furthermore, that the rockier the path is, the more it can reveal our loving hearts. Yet none of us can open up such a path. In My experience, I have walked many rocky, treacherous paths and I have endured great suffering; at times I have even been so utterly grief-stricken that I wanted to cry out, but I have walked this path to this day. I believe that this is the path led by God, so I endure the torment of all the suffering and continue onward. For this is what God has ordained, so who can escape it? I do not ask to receive any blessings; all I ask is that I am able to walk the path I ought to walk according to God’s will. I do not seek to imitate others, walking the path that they walk; all I seek is that I may fulfill My devotion to walk My designated path until the end” (“The Path … (6)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). As I turned over God’s words, tears streamed down my face. I realized that believing in and following God in a country where the CCP is in power is bound to come with all kinds of hardships and oppression. My family may have lost its savings and been reduced to a low standard of living because I was arrested and persecuted by the CCP. But this was ordained by God, it was a special life experience that God was guiding me through. God was using this difficult situation to test my faith. I should submit and bear witness for God throughout this hardship.
In the days that followed, my husband and I gave each other a lot of encouragement, often singing hymns together. And later, our brothers and sisters started to help us out. Some of them gave us money, others would give us things we needed. Still others would fellowship with us, giving us support … It was God’s love and His words that guided us through those darkest of days. Later on, we set up a stall and started doing some business to make money. But the police didn’t let up on monitoring and harassing us. They even forced us to write a letter guaranteeing we would stop believing in God. I resolutely replied: “I will not sign this!” I thought to myself: “Even if I have to risk my life, I will follow God to the very end.” Thank God!