China Aid Association
My name is Lan Zhaoxiu. I am 51 years old, and I live in Shiyan City, Hubei Province.
I believed in Jesus, for I had been sick. When I went back to visit my mother in 1989, she said, “Why don’t you believe in Jesus? Your family members are all sickly. If you believe in Jesus, he will be with you wherever you go.” She was with the Three-self Church for years. So I believed. She taught me a song, which goes like this, “I walk as I sing. Hymns are the food I bring. My speed is doubled, and I walk 10 miles untroubled. I don’t fear as I roam; Jesus will take me home.” I thought that this praise song was great, and believed in the Lord on that day. The second day, my sister-in-law asked me to join them for lunch, and my son went with me. He was only five years old. He was still fine when he was having lunch. But on the way back (Her house was about half a Chinese mile from my mother’s), my son fell ill all of a sudden and died. My mother was working in the filed when I called out to her, “My son is dead!” She said to me, “Hurry, put him in bed and call out to the Lord Jesus to save him.” So I did. I called out to His name for about 5 minutes, and my son came back alive. I really experienced the Lord this time.
I stayed there for about ten days, and all my worries in all my life were gone. I had peace in my heart. I lifted my illness to the Lord Jesus. On my back home, my right knee hurt so much that I couldn’t even get off the ship. All the other people went to catch their trains, but I couldn’t. I said, “Lord, please heal me, so that I could talk about this with the sick people after I got home, so that they could all believe in you.” Immediately my knee was healed. After I got back, I evangelized to more than 10 sick people, and they believed. We gathered for worship in my house. In 1992 I went to a “life meeting”, I which I repented, and was sure that I was saved.
In 1995 I went to Huji, Zhongxiang City and learned about the life of Jesus. On May 6th 1996 I was arrested by the police from Bolin Police Department. Three people came to the worship that day, and we sang Paul’s “And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there…” As I was teaching them, the cops rushed into the room, and roared at us, saying that we were anti-Communist, and believed in an evil religion, and that they wanted to arrest the leader. They roared as they said, “Freeze! What is this all about? You believe in an evil religion instead of the Communist Party!” They blocked the door and grabbed the Bibles and copies of the praise songs from us. They demanded, “Who was preaching?” We said no one, that we just read the Bible, and that we came to the Lord for we had been sick. They wouldn’t listen to this, and tied us up with ropes. I was kept in front.
It was about one and a half Chinese miles away from Bolin Police Department. All of us were members of the second and the third production brigade. Seeing us tied, the folks on the road laughed at us, and said words against us, like we were cheating people of their money, that we believed in Jesus to cheat people of their stuff, and that we were disturbing the production with Sunday worships. I just felt joyful when they were saying all this, and prayed, saying, “Lord, forgive them. They know not what they are doing. This is Sabbath, and you are our Father.” I walked in front, while they followed in a row.
They took us to Bolin Police Department. They cops interrogated us one by one, “Who preached the stuff to you? Was it Lan Zaoxiu?” They said, “No. We listened to the radio, which said that Jesus was a great doctor, that he could heal us and give us peace. Our sons and daughters-in-law got no money to treat our illness, so we depend on God Almighty to treat us.” That was what they said, and they were all released by night time. I was kept till the end. (I didn’t tell tehm my real name and address.) They didn’t know who I was. Then they said that I was dishonest. They kicked me, and hit me in the beast and ears. They said I was lazy and wouldn’t work, that all I did was enticing people to come to my house to believe in Jesus. They swore at me as they beat me. They demanded me to tell them my real name. I said, “This is my name.” I stuck to the words I had said. They asked me if I preached to them. I said, “No.” They said, “Where have you been?” I said, “Nowhere.” They wrote down a lot of stuff, and ordered me to sign. I did, without knowing what it was all about. They wrote as they spoke, saying that I should join the Three-self Church, that we couldn’t believe in this God in heaven but the religion that the government protected. I argued with them, “The Three-self Church is the one that got the Lord Jesus crucified.” I said, “I believe in the Lord who created the heaven and the earth. Why should I leave the real God and believe in a false one? All these years I have never done that! I didn’t believe in the true God, and was sick enough to die. The Communist Party didn’t care. The relatives didn’t care. I couldn’t borrow any money or get any sympathy. Now God has chosen me. I’ll believe in Jesus no matter what. My son got sick and died. I prayed, and my son came back to life. I was so sick that the doctors said nothing could prolong my life. Where was the Communist Party at that time? Now I got Jesus, and got peace. I repented. He died for me, so I live for him. I have never broken the law. Why do you arrest me and beat me and swear at me and say I am dishonest?” I witnessed as they cursed. When it was time they were off duty, they said, “Shut up! We want you to confess, and you witness? We don’t want to hear your Lord’s mighty deeds or healing your disease. The Communist Party wouldn’t care for you even if you are sicker! Your relatives and friends wouldn’t, why should we?”
They left me there and went away. I was kept inside. They went to my house, and frisked my stuff. There was 100 RMB that I was going to see the doctor with, and the believer had contributed 150. They took away the 250 RMB. At about 9 o’clock, they took me to Zhangwan Police Department (the branch in Zhangwan, Shiyan), and interrogated me again. They asked, “Where do you live? How old are you? What do you do foe a living? Are your parents Christians? And your sisters?”
They asked me again and again. I said, “They aren’t. They don’t want me to believe either.”
Then they took me to Wuyan Detainment Center. They asked, “Where have you been? Have you been to Zhongxiang?” They mentioned some names of the evangelists and other believers. I said, “I don’t know them. I have been nowhere. I just worship at home.” They said, “We just want you to say what we teach you to say. You have not broken the law by believing in Jesus. We are supportive. But we need you to cooperate with us. You just say what we want you to say. We’ll take you home if you do.” I just kept silent. They asked me if I had been to a place to worship, and I said, “No.” They said I was dishonest, and had me “carry the sword”. I couldn’t life up my arms, and four of them cam eat me. They pulled one arm up and the other one down, and were barely able to have me handcuffed. I was in so much pain that I sweat a lot till I lost all my strength. My arms were almost broken. They said, “If you don’t behave, we’ll kill you by torture. Have you been to jail before?” I said, “No.” They said, “What about the lockup?” I said, “I have never done anything bad. Why should I go there?” They said, “You’ll have to this time! You don’t want to cooperate with us, do you? You give us a no to everything! We have found out that you are simply dishonest. So we won’t let you go. The others are all cooperating, and told us about the communication meetings, truth meetings, and things like that. People have been coming to your house from everywhere, and you don’t tell us anything, here or in Bolin Police Department. You have to talk! If you don’t, you’ll be sorry! If you don’t behave yourself, we’ll sentence you to three years in prison. You better cooperate with us, and we’ll send you back. If you fail to confess one thing, we’ll sentence you to two years. If you tell us everything, we’ll send you home at once. If you say nothing, we’ll sentence you to death!” I wasn’t worried or fearful. I thought about Jesus, who died for me on the cross. They roared, “Think over! We give you five minutes. Then you tell us what we want you to say!” They continued, “We offer you a choice to join the Three-self Church. If you do and sign, we won’t give you trouble anymore. We won’t go to your house again.” I kept silent. He said, “If you are stubborn, get ready to live like your Lord did, with the cross and all! We’ll go to your house and give you no peace!” I still kept silent. They said, “We’ll give you five minutes.” We prayed, “Lord, you are without sin, yet was crucified on the cross. I am a sinner. It is alright for me to bear all this, but please add strength onto me.” I had lost all my strength from “carrying the sword”, and was sweaty all over. When I spoke aloud, they slapped me across the face, saying I was impolite. When I speak with a low voice, they said I was not cooperating with them. I would be beaten no matter what I did. All I could do was to pray, that the Lord would add strength to me so that I could survive their hands. I spoke to the Lord silently, and was filled with peace and strength. Then time was up, and they asked me, “Have you been to such a place?” I said no. They said, “We’ll life up the handcuffs. Once each minute.” So they did, rendering my bone aching. They did this to me for over an hour. My hands are still bearing a black stripe even today. I said, “I need to use the bathroom.” They said, “You are not allowed to go.” I said, “I can’t hold it!” They said, “Pee on the ground, and you’ll drink it. Poop on the ground, and you’ll eat it.” They roared and lift the handcuffs and wrote down things. They life the handcuff all the time till I couldn’t bear it. I said there was nothing to be said. They said, “You are lying! You have been to all those places, and you say you haven’t. Heping had been working in Shiyan for so many years, and you don’t know her? We won’t let you use the bathroom till you confess!” I was struggling: should I tell? They just lift the handcuffs like that every five minutes. I was weak in faith, and had done nothing in the church. All I did was to believe. I thought about a lot of things, and was a bit disappointed.
They said, “Are you talking or not? If you don’t, we’ll let you hold it till you fie!” After two hours, I said, “Even if you let me hold it till I die, I have finished what I wanted to say. I just worshipped in my house, and I have never been to other places. I know nothing about the evangelists.” At about 10 o’clock they asked no more questions and said, “We won’t ask anything. You just tell us when you are ready.” Then one of them said, “Time is up.” and lifted the handcuffs again. I was in so much pain that I was rendered powerless. I wanted to cry, but no tears came out. I opened my mouth, like a frog, but no tears. They said, “Look at this old diehard. She is hurting but doesn’t cry.”
At about 10:30 they took the handcuffs off. My arm couldn’t move till about half an hour later. It was as if grown onto the shoulder. They gave it several blows, and forced it down. They said, “Sit down and talk!” One of them said, “You husband id calling us to find you.” I knew they were telling a lie, for there was no phone in my house. He said, “He asks us to be done with the case. You haven’t broken the law. All you did was to believe in Jesus. As long as you tell me where you have been, who went to your house, and how many meetings were held there, you’ll be sent home at once.” I thought to myself that I didn’t tell them when I was handcuffed, and I wouldn’t when the handcuff was taken off. I kept silent. Later they said, “You ready? Talk!” I said, “I have told you what I have to say at Bolin Police Department, and at Zhangwan Police Department. I have not broken the law, yet you detain me here till now. Even if you have me handcuffed for ten years, I wouldn’t add one more word. I have finished with it.” They all stood up and said, “Still a diehard even now! Come here tomorrow! Now get off!” It was raining outside. They took me back to Wuyan Detainment Center.
I was kept there for a month. Then they took me out for interrogation again. They told me to cooperate with them, saying, “Answer as we want you to. Behave yourself, or you’ll regret!” They still asked me the same questions: the names of the evangelists, the reception families, the meetings in my house, and the people who went there€¦I said, “I haven’t been anywhere. I don’t know them.” They wrote a lot of things, like we were reactionary, anti-society, disrupting social order, hindering production, cheating people of money and so on. I couldn’t read, and said, “You ask me to sign this? Read it first.” He just picked some words. I said, “You have written such a lot of stuff, and you just read so little to me?” I said I wouldn’t sign. He began to beat me. He hit me in my breast, my belly, and kicks me. He said, “Old diehard! Still stubborn! You’ll be sorry!” They took the handcuffs again and wanted to fix me in the same way as they did before. I said, “Is this the only way you handcuff a person?” They said, “You don’t deserve other methods! If you are like such-and-such who cooperated with us, you would be fine.” They handcuffed me again, and asked me who made the sermon at the truth meeting (they had torn off the hangings on the wall, and antithetical couplets for Christmas. They also took away our books with 52 lessons and God Forever and Ever). They asked me, “Where are these books from?” I said, “Someone thrust them into the room while we were away. I put them in the trunk.” He asked, “Does your husband know it?” I said, “No.” They said, “Do the other Christians know it?” I said, “They were not home.” He said, “The believers have told me they were in your house for a truth meeting. So-and-so wrote the words. You are the only one that wouldn’t tell the truth.” I said, “I really don’t know.” They beat me hard while I was “carrying the sword”. I said, “I have said all I have to say.” One man asked, “Why did you put them in the trunk? Why didn’t you burn them?” I said, “I can’t read! I just saw it was words in them, and put them away. I didn’t tell anybody.” He asked, “Where is Li Mei from?” I said I didn’t know. They asked me a lot more questions, and I just said I didn’t know.
They used the old way on me. They would lift the handcuff five times each five minutes. My hands hurt so much that I couldn’t stand it anymore. They were still swollen from the previous time. I had spent a day and a night in pain. I was wounded all over. They told me to turn around, lean on the table, and they beat me with a broom stick this big. They grabbed my hair and forced me to kneel. I sat on the ground. I had never kneeled for anybody in my life except Jesus. My Lord is the one who created heaven ands earth. He was crucified on the cross for us sinners. They treated me like that, though I didn’t break the law. Now they were even demanding me to kneel before them! I wouldn’t. They were enraged, saying, “It’s time to lift the handcuffs! Five times this time!” I said, “You are killing me with one lift. Now you are doing five?” They said, “You came alive, and will go back dead! We fix you for you are dishonest!” I was in so much pain that I opened my mouth and was out of my breath. I called in my heart, “Lord, give me more strength! I need nothing else but you! Nothing else will work!”
When they went for lunch, they took the handcuffs off, just to re-handcuff one of my hands to the table, the other to the rail. I said, “Lord, add more strength to me!” Many things went through my mind. They were to fix me again in the evening. I went through for the morning; but what about the evening? I said, “Lord! I have done nothing for you. All I did was to believe in you. I am ignorant yet receive your grace. But they still wouldn’t let me go.” I cried as I thought.
At about 2 o’clock they came to work. They said I would have to talk, or they were to fix me even harder. I had no idea what awaited me in the afternoon. All I could do was to pray, “Lord! Only you love me. There is no love in the world. I have done nothing against them, yet they wouldn’t leave me alone.” At that time I didn’t have a deep understanding of the Bible. I just knew some verses from the praise songs.
In the evening, they had me “carry the sword”, beat me, and questioned me. They asked the same questions, and I gave the same answers. I said, “I have nothing more to add to what I said in the morning.” They just beat me and swore at me and said so-an-so confessed that I was the only one that wouldn’t. They kept me handcuffed for two hours, and I was sweaty all over. They took a basin of water later in the evening. I was sitting on the ground, and they pressed my head into it. I held my breath and wouldn’t let the water in, for people had probably washed feet with it. They did this to me for five minutes. Then they poured the water onto my head. Water flew from my head, and drenched my clothes. They pointed at the water on the ground and said, “Lick it! You pissed it. Lick it!” I ignored them. At about 12 o’clock they said, “All we want you to say is about the meetings in your house. Who preached? Who served? How many people went there?” I said, “No meetings at all!” They said, “It is written in a woman’s notebook that your house is a well-known reception house. People from everywhere went there.” I said, “No meeting at all. No one came to my place. There might be passengers for a night; that’s all. No preachers went there.” They beat me till I couldn’t stand it anymore. So I said, “There was this once that a person from Shaanxi came. He wore a towel round his head. He was in a sect, and asked us to follow. I said we work to get fed; that we wouldn’t listen to that crap. So he went away. No one else came.” He said, “You neighbors and you husband and other believers all say that there were people coming to your house all the time. If you still don’t behave, we’ll fix you harder!” I said, “I am telling the truth. You haven’t seen anybody going there, have you?” He said, “No, but we have done inquiries! Your neighbors have reported many times about this! We just didn’t go there. When we did, you were not there. Now we have believers arrested in your house!” I said, “They just went once, and you arrested them.”
Then they loosened the handcuffs, and told me to sit. They tried to coax me, “You husband came by yesterday and today, asking me to be quick with the case. You just tell us what we want to know, and you won’t suffer. Isn’t it better being with your husband, to cook dinner and wash the dishes? You are too old to suffer all this. If you broke the law, you deserve to suffer. But you didn’t.” I said, “Why don’t you allow any freedom of belief? You know I haven’t broken the law, and you took me here and beat me so hard?” He said, “Still arguing? I’ll have you handcuffed again to see if you would talk! We have spent a lot of time on you! If you cooperate with us, we’ll send you home right away. Or we’ll sentence you to three years in prison. Tell you what: we got the right to sentence a person to death!” I kept silent and prayed in my heart, “Lord, you are in control, I am willing to serve life in prison if you so will it. I wouldn’t cooperate with them, for they are satanic. You are love. Only your love is the true love. You loved me so much that you died on the cross for me. I would rather die than cooperate with them.” But I didn’t dare to tell them this. I could only talk to the Lord—and quite enjoyed it. At about 1 o’clock in the morning, they said, “Move your ass!” Then I was sent back. The cell leader asked me to take a shower. So I did, but I couldn’t put my hands down. They saw that I was covered with wounds, which were all black and bumpy. I was like a dead body. The cell leader said, “Oh my goodness, what did the cops think they were doing? They would kill the granny! She is just a Christian and has done nothing bad.” She cursed them. I said never mind; they knew not what they were doing. I said, “You folks don’t understand how the Lord that created man was crucified for me on the cross. I came into this for the Lord.” (I had told them I was a Christian, for they asked me why I had been put to jail.) I witnessed to them. Some still cured, some sympathized with me, and some said, “She deserves this. We are caring for her, and she says, ‘Forgive them.’ Their Lord would forgive them; so would they. We wouldn’t.” I didn’t fall asleep till sunrise. I felt like floating on the clouds, and as if I had lost all the blood.
I was worried that the other believers might tell them about the church, for they had said they would arrest all the church members. No big deal if they got only one, but if they got more than one, the secrets would be revealed, I was afraid. There was a hole in the door, and I would peep. When the other inmates had fallen asleep, I would kneel down and pray. The official on night duty saw me and asked, “What are you doing?” I said, “Memorizing the rules of the prison. You told me to do it.” Actually I was praying.
I was in the lockup for a month. I “carried the sword” for another three times, just as I did for the previous times. After keeping me suffer for three days, they just left me there. So I witnessed, and sang praise songs, like the one about the Lord Jesus carried the cross for me and walked towards Golgotha. I really enjoyed singing. I sang and felt that God was right there with me. There were a lot of people with a troubled heart in the prison. The inmates asked me to sing praise songs for them. I asked why, since they didn’t believe. They said they were happy too when they heard me sing. They said that they were bored and couldn’t die either. So I talked to them about the benefits of believing in the Lord. I said there would be trials for sure, but blessings and joy and peace would follow. I told them how I came to the Lord. Some nodded and said, “We’ll become Christians too after we get out.” After a month, there was a public hearing. Some of them were executed; some sentenced to life in prison, and some to three years. The second day, the ones were found not guilty were released. The inmates said to me, “You going to be fine. They’ll send you home soon.” Then the cops told me to pack up. I thought I was to be released. After I walked out, they said, “Two years in prison. Take your uniform off.” I picked up my stuff and walked out. They said that I was to be sent to the interrogation center. They inmates said, “Oh, no. That’s bad news.” But I had no idea why.
I was kept there for three months. The second day I after was sent there, I was interrogated. The second day too. The fourth day saw the same thing. They asked the same questions. One of them said, “You have answered none of our questions. But we know all about you. You know who we are? You know who I am?” I said, “No.” He said, “You are from Yunxian County, me too. My name is Ji Yongsheng. You know why I didn’t arrange common people to interrogate you but the officials? For you are stubborn! I thought you were honest, but you are far from it! I am so mad at you that you have to tell us everything this time. If not, we’ll hang you up and have you ‘carry the sword’ and strike you. We’ll even have people whip you till you talk.” I said, “I have told you all that I know. I haven’t been anywhere to preach. No one has come to my house. I believe; that’s all.” They put me to torture for three days, like “carrying the sword”, kicks in the legs, and blows in the breast and back. They struck me in front and I fell back. They struck me in the back and I fell forward. I was so weak that my arms had lost all strength. When they beat me, I couldn’t even get myself up again. They just kicked me back and forth. They beat me from 8 o’clock to 11 o’clock. They were going to have lunch at 12 o’clock. Someone called from down the building. They said, “We’ll come later. We are not finished with her yet.” One of them said, “Turn around.” I did. They said, “Lie down.” I did. They struck me in the back and kicked me in the legs. They struck me in my thighs with a big club. Then they said, “Turn back.” I did. One of them said, “Sit!” They used the same way as the day before: lifting the handcuffs. When I saw them coming at me, I leaned far back on the table, for I didn’t want to be hurting like that. They tried to get hold of me. Then they didn’t lift the handcuffs, but grabbed my hair and dragged me. Then they kicked me in the back of my legs. They trampled on my ankles and feet. I was sweaty all over. I prayed to the Lord to give me strength. I called out to him that I was too weak to overcome all this with my own strength. I said in my heart, “Lord, show me how you were crucified for me, in case I betray you.” After I remembered how the Lord was crucified for me, I grew stronger in faith again. Before 1 o’clock, they said, “We’ll go for lunch. You have two hours to think over. Or we’ll come at you again.” They took the handcuffs off just to have me re-handcuffed to the rails.
I was so thirty that my lips were parched, and I had not a drop of water to drink. I said, “Please give me some water to drink.” One of them said, “Water? Not even urine for you! You are not saying anything useful, and we can’t even get any work done for all the trouble. You are doing nothing but lying.” I said, “I can’t stand your beatings; that’s why I made all this up. I have never been to the place you said.” Then I made up the name of a place. He asked me, “Where is it?” I said, “Near Dongfeng.” He said, “What is the name again?” I said, “Maojian.” He said, “Who took you there?” I said, “So-and-so.” He said, “What? What’s the name?” I said, “I don’t know.” He said, “What is that person like?” I said, “Short and fat.” He asked, “What’s the hairstyle?” I said, “Short as yours.” (The two men interrogating me had short hair.) He said, “Height?” I said, “About the same with yours.” They asked, “Name?” I said, “We just called him fatty.” That was what I said, for I didn’t want them to beat me anymore. They asked, “Were they from Maoping?” I said, “I guess not.” He said, “There are believers in Maoping. There is a house with a cross in it.” I said, “Yes. There is a Three-self church there. He is with them.” So they went to look for the person for two, and failed to find him. Then they came back at me and beat me, saying, “Yes. You beat me like that, and I had to lie. I had said the truth, but you wouldn’t believe me.” They interrogated me till night time. Someone called from down the building, asking them to go eat. They said, “We are not finished wither yet. She lied.” He told them that they went on a pursuit for two days and failed to find the person. They went to supper at 10 o’clock.
I heard them say, “If we beat her hard, she would lie. We just ran around for nothing. If we don’t beat her, she wouldn’t talk.” They came in after supper, and had me “carry the sword”. They said, “If you still don’t speak, we’ll keep torturing you and put you to jail. You have even been to jail?” I aid, “No. I didn’t break the law.” He said, “You did! You are going to jail this time.” I said, “I didn’t!” They said, “We asked you questions, and you wouldn’t cooperate with us. Or we would have sent you home.” They continued, “We have sentenced you to three years to prison.” They interrogated me till midnight. I was kept in the interrogation center for three months. I was kept in the lockup for two months; just four days short.
They sentenced me to two years in the second group in Shayang. They didn’t tell me about the sentence when they passed the judgment. Before morning break, they told me to pack up. I thought I was to be released. After I got out, a person said, “You have been sentenced€¦” I said, “To how many years?” He said, “Two.” There were three others. We were put in a car and taken to Shayang. (I didn’t know where I was going till half way there. It was days after that that my family got to know where I was.)
There was a Sister Duan from Lichuan, Sichuan Province, who was sentenced to three years. Sister Liu Jiaozhen was sentenced to one and a half years. She was sent there a month earlier than me. Li Mei (a co-worker in Shiyan) and I were sent there together. A month later, Liu Jiaozhen came as well. The five of us were like a family. After we had spent some time there, we witnessed to Zhang and Yang the two team leaders. We told them the benefits of believing in the Lord, and the outcome for not believing in him. We were maintaining a friendly relationship.
If I was never put to the labor camp, I would remain unfamiliar with South China Church. All I did with them was to study the four gospels. I had never listened to the sermons there. Sister Lejuan (Sister Liu Xianzhi) often encouraged us by telling us about the stories in the Bible, like the one about David. Liu Jiaozhen was working in the kitchen, Lejuan in the workshop, and I in the vegetable garden. They were strict with Christians. The unbelievers were off duty at 10, yet they at 12. After I was off, I would work on my insoles and rest when they did. I wouldn’t go to bed till they were back. Members of SCC would visit us each month. There is a saying that goes like this: “The body holds the members together, not the members the body.” The church had strengthened me with prayers. The work there was heavy. I was sickly, and couldn’t manage to carry the manure. It should have been the work of the strong ones. Two people would have to carry one barrel, while I could carry it by myself and walk. The officials said, “She behaves really well. Is it for lessening of the terms?” Others said, “The five of them believe in a true God, I guess. They are different from people of other religions.” The officials and the over100 inmates all had high opinions of us. I really felt the deep love of the church when the brothers and sisters came to pay us a visit. One and a half years (the term was reduced) was like a couple of months to me. There were three of us after the other two were released. Liu Jiaozhen suggested that we stay with Lejuan (Sister Liu Xianzhi). The flowers of David stuck with him even when he was in trouble. I said, “We’ll stay here. The church loves us. I’ll stay with Lejuan.” I said to the Lord, “Lord, I can’t preach or anything. I just want to stay in her stead so that she could get out.” I fasted each morning. Liu Xianzhi said, “I’ll fast too. I really want to give thanks to the Lord! Who am I to have you stay with me? The officials wouldn’t allow it. If they would, I would feel so grateful before the Lord.” Liu Jiaozhen had to leave, for the officials didn’t allow her to stay. I kept fasting for about two months. When it was about time I was released, I told the officials, “You can put me alone in a cell or whatever. I won’t leave if she doesn’t. You can put me under reprimand before 100 people. I’m not going out.” I said, “The Lord has blessed me bountifully. I’ll stay with Liu Xianzhi no matter what.” I witnessed to them for about one hour. I said, “Before I came to the Lord, I was sick enough to die. Someone preached to me, and I believed. It was then when I got to know I was a sinner. I had thought I was a good person.” I said to them that God is the Lord over heaven and earth. He made all creatures in five days, and man in the sixth day. The seventh day He rested from His labor. The world observes this Sabbath. I said, “Man has sinned; God himself was crucified on the cross for us, the ones that are lost in sin. Jesus died for me. His clothes were stripped off and he was crucified on the cross, for my sins. I repented under the cross. I confessed all my sins, the ones from when I was little till that very day. I saw my sins and burst into tears like a baby. Mr. Yang, when I confessed, I just wanted to dig a hole in the ground and hide myself in it. I confessed all my sins according to the Ten Commandments. He forgave all my sins, and saved me from sin, death, and the power of Satan. Now I got eternal life. When I was saved, I said, ‘Lord, my heart is your temple. May you dwell there forever so that I would have peace and joy. I used to worship idols, but now I worship the true God in heaven.’ I had never been happy for I had been really sick. I had thought that I would die, and no one would care. But after I was saved, I became a new person. I always swore. I’ve been here for a year now; have you ever heard me swear? I can’t even if I want to! Jesus solved this problem once and for all. Now I’m a child of God. My Lord died for me, and now I live for him. I am willing to stay in prison for him. I have made it. Both in Shiyan, and here. I got only one last wish: I don’t want to go out till the last believer does. Liu Xianzhi’s God is my God. Her home up there is my home and the kingdom of the Lord Jesus. There is no sin or Satan or suffering or pain like in jail. You just have peace and joy.” I said, “Ms. Yang, that’s what I want to tell you.” She said, “Don’t you think you can make a Christian out of me. We Communist Party members don’t believe in God.” I said, “Even the Communist Party members should believe in God too. God has made the Communist Party. The Communist Party needs God too. The Lord wants everyone to be saved.” I said, “I’m telling you what I have experienced. If you want to believe, I’ll tell you about the gospel at your house.” She said, “Don’t! We Communist Party members are not allowed to believe in God.” The second day I came back and they gave me a no. I said, “I got to stick to the words I said before the Lord Jesus. Or may God punish me!” They said, “We’ll shut you up all alone! If we keep you here, we’ll be breaking the law. We couldn’t get the bonus that way. You know?” I said, “I’ll take all the responsibilities.” Zhang and Yang said that it was impossible, that the inmates of the second group all owed them money, and wanted to get the money out. I said, “I’m a believer, and I’m not here for you to blackmail. You want me to give you money? They sent me here. They are the ones responsible. I got no money on me. My folks are poor too. You never mentioned money while I was in the labor camp.” They said, “You got some rich relatives, don’t you? Borrow from them.” I said, “No. They are in debt too.” They said, “Call your home and send the money.” I said, “I ain’t got any money! I had spoken before the Lord that I would be with her.” She said, “Get away, will you? She’ll be out soon. I said, “No, not even one day!” He said, “No way! We are spending 20 RMB on you each day. You have stayed here 6 more days. That would make it 120 RMB.” I said, “I got no money.” The sixth day they lied to me, saying I was to work outside, and kicked me away. Truly, only the love in the church is the true love. I can’t recount all the love the church gave me. I can’t get to the point either somehow… Even parents love you on condition that you give them stuff. If you are destitute, they would treat you as their enemy. I am a fuddle-headed person. I can’t get my words right or get anything done, but the Lord blesses me so. I am often moved and ashamed.
After I spent a month in the church, I went home for the Spring Festival. They all said, “Hey, you’ve grown fatter from jail!” Some others said, “You shouldn’t believe in Jesus now, or gather for worship.” I just thanked the Lord. I just told my family how I enjoyed being in jail. My youngest daughter didn’t go to the gatherings or pray, for she was weak in faith when I was away. But I witnessed to her, and she sang praise songs again to praise the Lord. I gave all three of my daughters over to the Lord. When I went for the first time to a SCC meeting, I saw that the evangelists of SCC were all dressed up neat, all in the same clothes. I really admired them. I fast every morning, and gave all my children over o Him. I want them to be in the church, and serve God all their life. This was what I deeply felt after I got back. At home there were so many things to take care of that one could never o a good job serving the Lord. The three of them would be in church together. They got no family now, and they can serve the Lord better. They got their share in the salvation plan. I had more understanding about SCC. I was unfamiliar with the church when I was in jail. Later I understood it better and better.
In 1999, we held a study in my house, and read the four gospels. The cops from Bolin Police Department were collecting wood, and saw us gathering. We had had the gate locked, and they shouted and knocked on the gate. They surrounded the house. Over ten people tried to escape, but was trapped in a cliff. The cops got them, and tied them up to be delivered to the police station. They came back again to search my house. There were 17b quilts and some food, all of which they took away. I ran from the front door to the mountain, and they failed to get me. They arrested my husband, saying, “We’ll hold you in her stead. She comes in, and you can go.” They kept him for a month, and released him.
On August 20, 2001, we were gathering for the Sunday worship. Later the believers all went away. A person came in the morning and said, “Run! The co-workers here have been arrested.” So we just went through quickly with the sermon, and prayed. They all went away. I was about to leave after the prayer, but I had just knelt down when Superintendent Yang of Bolin Police Department came in like a thief. He sniffed around, saying, “We have told you to drop this crap. How come you are still sticking to it?” He sniffed around the house. He said something while I was still praying. He said, “Get your ass up!” I stood up, and was going to lie to him to get away. I said, “I’ll go use the bathroom.” He grabbed me and said, “No way!” He called the people at the police department, saying, “I got her.” He had come for me before, and was afraid I would run away again.
They took me to Bolin Police Department, and pointed at the photos in the periodicals, asking me if I knew them. I said, “No.” On hearing this, they slapped me across the face with it. One of them sneered while pointing at the photos. After they finished with beating me, they handcuffed me and went to search my house. They took the over 100 RMB from a trunk, and also the over 200 RMB that the believers contributed. The periodicals and other books were also confiscated.
They took me to Zhangwan at about 9 p.m. They interrogated me six times here and there, saying, “We’ll be through with all the dirty deeds you committed!” They told me, “You teacher and Li Enhui have been caught. Your teacher raped many girls.” I said, “That’s a lie! Never heard about it!” One of them said, “You teacher himself has admitted. He went to your house five times. How many times were you in bed together?” I said, “You are an aged official, and you talk nonsense. I am old and she is not even living here. When did he come here? You are not even good at telling lies.” He said, “Well, guess you are too old for him. He got a bunch of young girls to sleep with anyway. He said it himself.” They said that he was guilty of seven charges. He said, “Your teacher committed all this while in the worship gatherings. Your neighbors, your husband and your children all said that men and women slept together in your house.” I said, “The members of out church would never do it. We believers don’t commit such a sin.” He said, “Make her ‘carry the sword’. Give me the handcuffs.” They took over a big stack of papers, and told me to sign. I wouldn’t, and he grabbed my hair. He tried to make me kneel, while I just sat there. He grabbed my hair and hauled me back and forth. It was the first day. Then they sent me aback to the cell in midnight.
The second day the interrogations continued. They had me handcuffed for three days. I was kept there foe a month. They asked, “Do you know the people here in this book?” I said no. They took out a sandbag, and asked what it was all about. One of them said, “This is the evidence of your committing injury. This sandbag is your ‘gun’. You have stabbed people with nails.” They were also holding the pictures of the exhibition of pictures with biblical themes. He said, “You went to the exhibition too, for you were the deaconess. You had passed by the round turning at Zhongxiang, ring? Many people from Shiyan Communication Meeting went. There were a lot of them, as is written down. If you don’t tell, you’ll be dead for it!” I said, “I know nothing about the sandbag or the nail.” He said, “Your teacher and Li Enhui have told us what they had done. It is a matter of your attitude. Who do you think you are? Do you know who we are? If you don’t tell the truth, we’ll beat you to death! You are not afraid, aren’t you? Well, they are! They have told us everything.” I said, “I still don’t know about all this.” He said, “You did it, and you say you don’t know?” I said, “You said I did it! You said the sandbag was a ‘gun’. But I don’t see how that can be.” He said, “You are sitting right there with so-and-so in front of you. I got the record here.” He went through and didn’t find it. I said, “You are simply lying. I got no idea what you are all talking about.” They took over the periodicals, and asked me who were in the pictures. I said I didn’t know, and they beat me. I couldn’t stand it any longer, so I made up a lie, “I took off a nail, alright. A carpenter needed a nail this big, for he was making the frame of a cart. It was too much trouble for me to go buy one, so I took one off from the kitchen wall with pliers. I never shoot the ‘gun’.” He said, “This is not what I meant! I’m talking about killing.” I said, “NO! Our Lord taught us never to kill. We are not even allowed to hate each other. It is written in the Scripture that to hate a person is like to kill him. You said we killed people. Who did we kill?” He said, “You are just dishonest! All the other SCC members have confessed, including your teacher. But you just wouldn’t!” I said, “I don’t know what you are saying.” He slapped me across the face with a copy of the periodical. I still said, “I don’t know what you are saying.” He said, “You deaf?” I said, “No. I told you the truth, but all you did was to beat me. You can beat me to death and I would still say I don’t know what you are talking about.” He just asked me and beat me again and again. He asked about the sandbag, and I said it was the students’ stuff. This was the day of the interrogations. He began to coax me when it was late at night. He said, “We’ll let you go this time, but you have to tell us everything. If you did, we would send you home at once. Your teacher has been sentenced to death. He is to be shot. Maybe you’ll follow him as well. You want to die or three years in prison? Aren’t you even frightened?” I kept silent. Then at about 10 o’clock at night they took the handcuffs off to coax me. I ignored them. At about 12 o’clock they sent me back to the cell again. After a month, a person told me to pack up and go out. I thought I was to be released, while they told me I had been sentenced to three years in jail.
I had thought that I would be with Li Enhui. Lejuan and the others were sentenced to three years for sure. I said to myself that it would be the same as in 1996. On second thoughts, I said to myself: never mind. Id they sent me to Wuhan, I would have to stay in Wuhan. I thought, the Lord suffered for me, and I was willing to suffer for him and be his witness. As it turned out, they sent me to a dairy farm to receive “ideological education”. They charged me 27 RMB per day, and I said I didn’t have any money. They had me handcuffed fro five days with the Falunggong practitioners. They all went to watch TC for the evening, while I was kept alone in the room. I remembered the words of the Bible, and how I was saved, the rotten life I lead before I came to the Lord, and the peace and joy after I followed him. I still have the hope even today. All I did was to go to jail for him. I was all the more close with the Lord during the five days and nights, just like a baby in mother’s arms. I didn’t feel a thing about the “carrying the sword”. I wasn’t even aware that I was covered with wounds. All the comfortable time was half an hour during the meals (with people watching over me), but they would handcuff me in the old way again. I said, “Lord, you really love me in a way I don’t deserve. I can stand being handcuffed for a year or ten years.” I didn’t feel that I was being handcuffed. I felt it was the hands of the Lord holding me. I really didn’t deserve his love or his grace. I really thanked my Father in heaven with all my heart. I just wanted to tell the brothers and sisters that if they were afraid to go to jail, I would go there for them. Actually I was in a great relationship with the Lord when I was in jail.
I am telling the truth. One cannot enjoy the Lord when at home; there are all kinds of hindrances, like from your husband and the unbelievers. Believers and unbelievers are at war each day. We are faring a war as we pray, or receive people into the house. However, the persecutions would just better the relationship with God. The more one stays away from prison, the less he feels the Lord is loving and kind. If you have never suffered all this or go to jail, you would never know how cruel yet miserable the unbelievers are. I looked at them, and was so anxious for them that they could believe in the Lord too and soon. Only the Lord is love, love forever. The more you go to jail, the more you feel the love of the church. The world loves you not. Even the love between husband and wife, and parents and children is conditional. Before I came to the Lord, my parents were good to me. Now it’s different. My Lord has given me such a deep love that he laid down his life for me. His kingdom i’ll enter, and the road to eternal life is right before me. I really thank the Lord. All these years I haven’t done enough for my parents, and that’s why they hate me. They would even slander me everywhere that I would rather have Jesus than my mom. Before I came to the Lord, my relatives were friendly. Then after I believed, I proclaimed the gospel to them. They wouldn’t believe; never mind. But they just went around and said bad things about me. Many relatives have left me. I give thanks to the Lord who set me apart from the world. Though I am useless, I can still taste that the church loves me all these years. My teacher has suffered such a great deal just for the faith. I have been a believer for years. I should have been more helpful to the church in trial, but still I’m weak.
I thought a lot during the five days and nights. Then the two officials called out, “Let the old bitch from SCC out, and get her going! She’s been feeding on us for free!” I said to myself, now I was to say goodbye to the handcuffs. I really missed this, for I really enjoyed it. I went downstairs yet still looking back at them. The two officials said, “What the hell are you looking at? You don’t want to go? We can have you handcuffed again! Get off!” They roared at me before I went away.
After I was released, the co-workers told me that the circumstances were hostile. So I just drifted with them, for God’s plan of salvation. I went back and packed the little belongings I had, and roamed as a rag picker. I just wanted to help them with the case, so that my teacher could get out sooner. I am too simple-headed to do other things. All that I can do is to pick up garbage with my humble hands. I am out here, which is fine too, for wherever I go, God is with me.
Orally presented by
April 26th, 2004
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