Through Relentless Torture
By Li Quan, China
It was December of 2000, 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 had a bad feeling about it and rushed to hide our books. Then, six or seven police officers barged into the room. One of them was yelling: “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, evangelism materials, and two tape recorders. Deputy Chief Lyu of the Political Security Department came over to me with a few books 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 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 something awful. He then stomped on my thigh hard a few times. Officer Jin wasn’t satisfied so he smacked me in the face with a rolled up magazine, cursing as he hit me: “You better talk! If you don’t talk I’ll kill you!” He beat me for about a minute, then said viciously: “Let’s not waste time. 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 took off my outer clothing, leaving me with only thin long johns on. They grabbed my arms and pushed me to the ground, and wrapped the rope around my neck, making a cross in the front. Then they tied up my arms, used the rope to tie my hands behind my back, and threaded it through the rope that was around my neck, then pulled it up hard. My shoulders were drawn too close to each other really painfully, 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. After a bit, 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, thinking: “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 ofthat 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!” (“Work and Entry (8)” in ). 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 pretends to honor 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 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, too. 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 onto the ground, my body aching all over. Then, two police grabbed my hands from either side and spun my arms in circles like spinning a big rope. My hands were in extreme pain after they’d spun them a few times. Jin asked me: “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 then you won’t have to suffer anymore.” I thought: “Like I would ever betray my brothers and sisters!” Exasperated that I wasn’t talking, Jin said: “Put him back on 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 from last time and my wrists were really cut up. 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, just a steamed bun and a tiny bit of vegetables. The buns were filled with corn pulp, just an ear of corn mashed with the cob and all, 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 in my shoulder 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 hurt, and even getting up to go to the bathroom was really hard. Just thinking about my abysmal prison life was enough to torment me. It was not a humane place and I didn’t know when those days would finally be over. In the midst of my pain, I prayed to God over and over, praying to understand His will, to be strong, and to 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” (“Only by Experiencing Painful Trials Can You Know the Loveliness of God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Thinking on God’s words was encouraging for me. In such a place, God wanted to perfect my faith and love and 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 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 steeled myself: “No matter how much I suffer, I will continue to lean on God and stand testimony for Him.”
One day, someone from Political Security 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, if you tell us then you can go home. We went to your house. Your kids are so young—it’s so sad that there’s nobody to take care of them. Just tell us.” Hearing him mention my kids was difficult to bear. I thought: “My wife and I were both arrested by the Communist Party, and now even our kids 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” (“Chapter 3” of God’s Words to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh). 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?” (“Chapter 1” of God’s Words to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God rules over everything, and my kids are also 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 witness 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!” He beat me until I was dizzy. 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, grabbed me by the shoulders and 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 to reach 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. Where I stood 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 aof God’s words: “You must suffer hardship for the truth, you must give yourself to the truth, you must endure humiliation for the truth, and to gain more of the truth you must undergo more suffering. This is what you should do” (“You Should Forsake All for the Truth” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs). I felt encouraged. I could not give in to Satan. Even if I froze to death that day, I would stand witness for God! Around half an hour later, a guard of detention house passed by and saw me handcuffed to the truck. 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!” A minute after the guard went inside, Jin and the others came out and brought me back inside. 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 a thief—at least they have skill. You people go through so much pain just to believe in God, it’s so 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 stealing things is a skill but believers who walk the right path should be tortured like animals! 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 blisters the next morning. It looked like I’d been burnt with scalding water. One after another, the big ones were as big as egg yolks and the small ones as big as finger tips. I couldn’t walk at all and I wanted to scratch them but I didn’t dare. When they 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 were infected and 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 blue. Afraid of being held responsible, the guards sent me to the hospital. The doctor said my right ankle was infected and festering, so I needed to be operated on. In the operating room, I overheard the prison doctor say to the other staff there: “We had another one 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 thought of a hymn of God’s words: “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). 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 my injuries from 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 small. I didn’t show true faith or submission to God at all. Thinking about that, I prayed to God: “Oh, God! I don’t want to think about myself anymore. I will obey Your arrangements and even if I die, I will still stand testimony 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. They’re always distorting things!
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. I was hooked up to an IV and 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 really twist reality!”
In the interrogation room, an officer said: “Your case is in our criminal police brigade’s hands now. Political Security may not be able to deal with you, but we always have our ways!” I looked at them, each one with a wicked, hideous face. I felt nervous and I was sweating. I had heard that the Criminal Police Brigade was in charge of major cases. They were especially cruel 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 protect me and not let me become a Judas. Then, he 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 youbelievers live or die, so just hurry up and come clean!” I said: “I have nothing to say.” Eyes red with anger, he slapped me hard in the face with one hand and then the other. My face was in terrible pain and blood trickled from the corners of my mouth. I also felt dazed and like 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 death? If I can’t take it and I sell out, then I’ll be a Judas.” I went in front of God and prayed: “God, please give me faith and the will to bear more suffering. Even if I’m on my last breath, I will not succumb to Satan!” 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” (“Chapter 6” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning in The Word Appears in the Flesh). 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 on the rope like last time. But this time was even worse. They pulled my arms behind my back and yanked up on the rope. It felt like my arms were breaking and it hurt terribly. Half an hour later, my hands were bruised black and blue, and they untied me when seeing I was on my last legs. After another half an hour, seeing that my wrists had recovered a bit, they put me back on the rope for a second time. This time they brought a mop. They stuck its handle behind the rope 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 extreme pain and it felt like they were going to snap in half. While he pushed down on the mop, he asked me: “How many of you are there? Who is your leader?” When they saw 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. Two officers walked over to either side of me, lifted up my shirt, and then used a water bottle cap to scrape hard along my ribs. It hurt so badly I screamed and bolted straight upright. An officer yelled at me: “You’re in pain, so why don’t you ask your God to come save you, huh? It hurts so hurry up and talk!” They scraped hard back and forth on my ribs until they broke the skin. It was agonizing.
They then pressed my head down hard and said, angrily: “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 God believers. A little suffering’s worth it if you get some cash!” I felt anger and hatred towards them. 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 I realized that if I said something, then 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 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” (“Only by Experiencing Painful Trials Can You Know the Loveliness of God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words restored my strength. I could feel His constant presence by my side, guiding me. 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 grabbed me by the collar and pushed me up against a wall. He throttled my neck really hard and said savagely: “I’ll strangle you today!” I could hardly breathe, and I really couldn’t take it anymore. I used all my strength to push him away from me. He stepped back and looked stunned. I also felt like it was strange. 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 be able to push him off. I knew that it was God helping me and giving me strength. I had even more faith in God after that. They kept torturing me until after one in the afternoon. One of the officers said, enraged: “You’re a mule. We’ll keep going tomorrow and we’ll see how long you can hold out. If you don’t open your mouth, we’ll interrogate you every day until you do!” Then, they brought me back to my cell.
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 wound on my shoulder that had healed was back. My wrists had blood marks from the impression of the rope. Those demons. They’d do anything, no matter how cruel, to get me to betray God and sell out the others. They were eager to kill me. They’re a gang of truth-hating, God-hating demons! I thought about how the officer said they would interrogate me again the next day and I felt afraid: “Will the torture be even worse tomorrow? Will they torture me to death? These demons won’t rest until I’ve told them about the church. But if I talk, I’ll be like Judas betraying God, and if I don’t talk, then it’s very likely that I’ll be tortured to death.” I felt conflicted, so I prayed again and again to God: “Oh God, my stature is too small, I really can’t do it 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” (“Prepare Sufficient Good Deeds for Your Destination” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). I thought on those words repeatedly. I knew that God’s righteous disposition 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 His 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 testimony for God. Once I had the confidence to face the next interrogation, to my surprise, they didn’t come back for a long time. 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.” When I was leaving the detention house, Lyu said: “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.” When I got home, I learned that my family gave the police 6,000 yuan to bail me out.
Later, in order to avoid police surveillance, I left home to fulfill my duty in other places. This arrest and persecution by the CCP helped me clearly see the demonic essence of their hatred and resistance of God. I hated them deeply. I also really felt God’s love and salvation. When my body couldn’t handle any more suffering, God was always with me, 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 follow God to the death and stand testimony for God.