China Aid Association
My name is Zhong Xiao Hong and I am 27 years old. My hometown is Ying Cheng City in Hubei Province. Maybe since I was young God gave me a sense of longing in my heart. I think I thought about a lot of questions that others did not think of when I was a child. I asked where did we come from. By the time I was 11 or 12 years old
In June 1998 I was sent to Nancheng City, Xi Chong County, Szechauan Province for the Lord’s work. There, the mountains are big, the traffic is terrible, and the people are poor. There are Buddhist temples everywhere. People all believe there is a God, but few have found the real God. Very few people believe in God. Very few people know He is good and those that know are in the Three Self Patriotic Movement. They know that God is good, but they don’t know why they believe in God. Because of this situation we went to the church in Nancheng City to understand the state of their faith and to talk with them. There I found Pastor Liu Gang. When he heard about the purpose of our visit, he welcomed us and talked with us. Then we each shared our personal testimonies with him and the teachings of the South China Church.
On April 14, 2001 which was Easter, that day Pastor Liu Gang called me to talk about the content of the South China Church Periodical. Then we went to meet with Pastor Liu Gang. We talked about the South China Church Periodical. There were some elders there and they thought we were speaking strangely. Then they called the Xi Chong County Public Security Bureau. That afternoon at 4 pm, we came out of the church and we saw a public security bureau car parked about 100 meters away. We didn’t pay attention to the car because we saw a lot of cars like that in the city. When we were leaving, four public security bureau officials wearing civilian clothes got out of the car. We felt that the situation was strange so we ran. They chased after us and captured us. They said, “We know you and we’ve been looking for you.” Then they knocked me and my co-worker to the ground. They forcefully ##. Two people took my coworker and two people took me and pushed us into the car and took us to the XiChong City PSB. There, in the PSB office, they took our bags and emptied their contents and our Bibles, notebooks, and South China Periodicals fell out. They asked me where the Bible and the SCC Periodical came from. Then, they told us to stand behind these items and have our pictures taken with them. Then they separated me from my co-worker and then two officials, one named Tao Ge, interrogated me. The Religious Affairs Bureau officials were named Jia and Zhao and they interrogated my coworker. Then, they asked for our addresses, names. We didn’t give our real names and addresses up until the time that we were sentenced, we still did not give our real names and addresses. They asked us where the SCC periodicals came from. Do you know that the SCC is a forbidden church? It was banned as a cult in 1995. The SCC deliberately deceives young people like you. Then they asked when we believed in Christianity and why. What good comes out of believing in Christianity. How long have you been on the gospel team? What new names did you get on the gospel teams? Where is your headquarters? Where do you usually meet? Who meets? Where? Who is your leader? I didn’t answer any of these questions, except my name, address, and why I believed in Christianity.
When they began interrogating me, they didn’t think I was telling the truth. By the end, they said these two people seem to have coordinated their confessions. They don’t answer any of our questions. If they are still like this tomorrow, we’ll severely punish them. That night, they interrogated us from 4 pm to 8 pm until they sent us to the detention center. On the way to the detention center, the RAB chief said “Tomorrow, you better realize that if you act like this again, we won’t be as nice to you.” I looked him squarely in the eye and said “Do with us what you will.” That day we got to the detention center, as we were registering, Tao Ge told the officer at the detention center, “Watch them closely, because they still have a lot of audacity and they’re out of towners.” The officer looked at us and Tao Ge said “Separate them, don’t let them be in the same cell.” Then they split us up. I was alone in my cell. When I looked at the detention center office, I thought something was not right. That night, I prayed to God. Whenever there was any noise, I would wake up. The next day, the officer said, “what was going on with you last night.” Then he purposefully touched my face and made some indecent gestures toward me. Just then, next door someone yelled, so he left to find out what it was. Then I prayed and asked God to get me through this trial. That morning, Tao Ge and Li Ze Xia came to interrogate me again.
They said “Today, think hard about what you said yesterday. You weren’t being honest at all. We don’t believe what you said at all. Yesterday, did you think about what you should say today?” I replied “I answered all your questions yesterday. Everything you said was true, you didn’t any say anything about the church. You had an uncooperative attitude yesterday.” At the time, I was quietly praying in my heart asking God to answer my prayers. When Li Ze Xia saw that this was my attitude, he didn’t say anything. Li Ze Xia just slapped the table and said “Li Xiu Feng, listen to me, pay attention to me, what do you think today? Do you not realize that we treat you because you are an out-of-towner. If you were a local, we would have punched you with our fists and kicked you a long time ago. You still are being forthcoming today. You thought you could be taciturn with us.” Li Ze Xia said, “You God-believers are the same as Falun Gong.” I said “What does what we believe have in common with Falun Gong? Other people say that the bad stuff that is said about Falun Gong is fabricated by you.” Tao Ge “Don’t worry and don’t be too anxious. You should contemplate what it means to be an out-of-towner. We’re being lenient with you. You should talk. Look at how young you are. We’re not forbidding you from believing in God. We just want you to register. See how in Xi Chong there are so many believers and we built a church especially for them and told them to worship there and who arrests them? We just want you to sign your names and register. Any place you go to is OK€¦ Then, I said “I gave you a report of how we believe in God. The Constitution protects the freedom of religious belief. If I want to believe in God, I will believe in God. No one can stop me. I can believe wherever I want to believe. Then, Tao Ge said “I’m not saying that you wrongly believed in God. You can believe in God if you want. You can worship in a home or wherever, but why worry your parents by going out and doing missionary work and relying on the hospitality of strangers. If you do mess up, they won’t even let you stay, why bother? Your parents worry about you, since you came here, your parents worry even more. Even though you aren’t concerned for yourself, you should take care of yourself for your parents’ sake. Then, he said, I read something that you wrote. Your name is Zhang Tong Fei.” I said “I’m not. What makes you think that I wrote that?” He said, “How could I not know?” I said “Bring me the evidence.” He said “You are someone of quality. Actually, this kind of quality can be used in the world. You are not a simple person. You are not people who don’t know how to communicate, because you are all trained and organized in explaining things. You’re all afraid of being like Judas and saying something that would betray your Lord. Everyone says you are honest. I think that you are not at all honest. You should speak honestly, because now the government’s policies are to be lenient on honest people are released.” But no matter what he said, I wouldn’t make a sound. Li Zhe Xia started yelling my name and saying “I see you not moving at all in your chair. What are you a gold mouth and jade words (someone who only says momentous things). When we discuss your church, you don’t even make a sound. Consider your fate. Think about what the result will be if you are not honest. I said “I’ve said everything I want to say. Well, I’m in your hands. Whatever you want to do with me, go ahead.” Tao Ge said again, ” Yesterday, you didn’t think, you would come here you would eat well and sleep well. Actually, no one wants to come to this place. Again, proud people who come here also have to be humbled. I see that your attitude is still obstinate. No wonder your church is a cult and has been forbidden.” I said “I know what church I belong to. You think you know who our church is. Tao Ge said “Just think clearly. We’re giving you an opportunity.” In a little while, his coworker, named Zhao, came in, saying “Be more honest, or Lao Ze is going to strike you.” Li Ze Xia left and came back in. “They seem to realize that this is like a courtroom and they don’t want to incriminate themselves. It’s as if they had been trained. We need to be ruthless. Today, we want to straighten them out.” They saw that I wouldn’t make a sound, but in my heart I was praying and putting all of this in God’s hands and I wasn’t afraid, no matter how much he struck the table or raised his fist, in my heart, I had peace. It was not like I was receiving a judgment.
Then Tao Ge again asked “You really haven’t thought about what happens next after this.” “I said, I’ve thought about it. First, I go to Detention Center, then I go to Reeducation Camp.” Tao Ge then said, “With an attitude this resolute, you are not going to change? Then, he said, you’ve been poisoned too deeply.” I said “How could I be poisoned too deeply. You need to come up with a reason.” Tao Ge “After a half a day of talking, you haven’t changed at all. What we’re saying, you’re not answering.” I said “What I should say, I’ve said. Why are you still saying I’m not honest” They interrogated me like this four times, with the subject matter being essentially the same everytime. Like this, I spent a day in the detention (Kou LIU) center. On the afternoon of April 17, I was sent to the detention (Kan Shou) center. At the detention center, Tao Ge and Mr. Jiao told the chief of the detention center and the education and labor department. They said, “watch these two people closely.” They watched everything that we did and in that way they understood our situation. They said we were really dishonest. The detention center chief specifically came to look for me and said “You believe in Christ, why bother, if you’re honest with us, the policy now is very liberal, you can now go home. You thought that in the detention center, if you don’t do anything, it’s easy. If you go to the reeducation through labor camp, then you will really have fun, because in the detention center, those officers often looked for me to talk to me. Everyone was watching me. But no matter how they interrogated me, I wouldn’t say anything. I want to pray, sing hymns, the officers that it was amazing, not like average people.
Until April 27 when they held a public trial, when they called our names, they brought us out tied up with rope. When they were parading us around (in Xi Chong) I felt really happy because I was doing this for of Christ’s name (not for anyone else), only for the Gospel, for my belief in Christ and there was nothing to be ashamed of. I held my head high, no matter what people on the streets said, I ignored them. The public trial was held in a middle school in Xi Chong County with more than a thousand people there. The crime that they accused us of: being part of a cult, in the past few years going all through out Xi Chong organizing religious meetings, disturbing public order, violating the Constitution and then we were sentenced to two years of reeducation through labor. Actually, then in my heart, I felt like being sentenced to two years was too little. Actually because regarding the Special Periodical editions we had collected, not only the first to thirteenth, but the first to forty-eighth. Two years was too little punishment. This way, at the trial, behind my back, people were talking about me, and even more people said “You are this young, what are you doing believing in God?” Now, go ahead and believe in God, and you’ll sit in jail.” “Later, you won’t have any face [dignity].” At that time, my self-respect was injured. But, once I thought of Jesus, he didn’t have any sin. He was also bound and taken to trial. Once I thought of sharing in Christ’s sufferings, my heart was revived. Curse me, go ahead, the source of my faith, it doesn’t matter how you curse me. When I got to the detention center, I was with my coworkers because they already made their judgment. We were all in a room, before I was sentenced, I was very worried, I didn’t know what was going on. After they interrogated me four or five times, then they didn’t interrogate me and we didn’t know what the judgment was. After they sentenced us, I was very happy. So, the detention center people said “Before you were sentenced you were so worried, after your were sentenced, you were so happy.” You eat more food, just like people who haven’t been sentenced.” At that time, there was a woman similar in age. She was a swindler. When she heard the judgment, she went back to the room and cried. I didn’t think there was anything worth crying over. I was happy. On top of that I got to be with my coworkers and fellowship with them. We could share with each other about our interrogation experiences. We didn’t plan it, but we all had the same story. We encouraged each other. When we were sleeping, one person would stay on guard and take turns praying. Because the Lord was protecting us, the night watchmen did not find out.
They sentenced us on the 27th, but they didn’t send us until May 20th, they sent us to Szechuan Province, Zi Zhong Country, Women’s Reeducation through Labor Camp. When we were sent there, they didn’t give us any kind of judgment. When we were in the Reeducation through Labour Camp, they took us to an administrative department and we had to sign our names and our hearts felt very perplexed. Once we saw it, we knew it was the reeducation through labor judgment and this is how they sent us to reeducation through labor camp. Then, the official in charge said, ” More cult members, what are you doing believing in God at such a young age. We must deal with them strict.” Then, another official took us to the special surveillance team. Then, because my coworkers was sick, she was sent back to the detention center, so I was all alone. Actually, I wanted someone with me, but I knew deeply that the Lord wanted me to be in this kind of situation, so my courage would be built up and I would know not only how to fight in a group, but how to fight alone. Therefore, I gladly received this lesson. The guy who sent me said to the special surveillance team leader. “This is a new cult. You must be careful.” Then, the leader of another area called to me and said “Why are you here?” I said, “I am here because I am a Christian.” Then she said, “You believe in a cult. You’re going to want to reflect on this pretty good and write a recantation statement. You are going to be miserable.” She said “did you hear me?” I let out a sound. In my heart, I thought, “according to what have you decided that I’m in a cult. I am just believing in God.” Then, she overturned my stuff onto the floor. Then, the sun was very bright. There was a blackboard in the middle of the field. She said “think hard about these three questions.” “One, what is this place? Why are you here? What are you going to do?” From one in the afternoon until dinner, I spent two to three days in the special surveillance area. Moreover, the officials were also monitoring others. Those people also said “why has your belief brought you here? If your God had any ability, you wouldn’t be in jail.” They made us squat near the blackboard area. No matter what they said, my heart always said, “they Don’t understand so they’re making fun of me and I asked the Lord to forgive them.” But, because of God’s grace—most people have to stay there at least half a month or stay three to four months, but I only had to stay (at the strict supervision team) two or three days. Because the SST rose every morning at 5:30 and went to bed everynight at 12:30, sometimes we would not go bed until several hours after midnight. According to the customs of the women’s detention center, we did military-style training. We had to recite the thirty-five rules of the reeducation through labor camp, like the five musts, and the ten wrongs.
So, I got out of that team and I was sent to the big team, the three center team. It was still the strict supervision period, in every aspect, the management supervised us especially strictly. Because I was in the church for a long time, straight out of elementary school, I had never experienced that kind of lifestyle. I felt I couldn’t become accustomed to what I was hearing and seeing. The officials thought I was not like the others. They commented “If you’re a Christian, you still get arrested?” That’s really curious. Some officials (Supervisor Zhou) harshly criticize me. Li Xiu Fen, “You should pay attention to me. Here, you must figure out who you are. You cannot share the gospel here. You cannot pray. You cannot read the Bible.” In my heart I said, “You control me? This is my freedom.” In the sleeping room, all the people knew I was praying everyday and asked about my situation and said “you are not an average person.” The clothes I wore, my speech, every aspect was not the same as them, everyone called me a nun and asked me “your plane ticket?” I said, “What plane ticket.” They said “Reeducation through labor sentencing notice.” I said, “They didn’t give it to me.” They said, “Actually, believing in God€¦” I explained to them matters of faith. They said, “you believers didn’t break any laws. In this kind of situation, you can appeal…” They said “What happened to you isn’t fair.” Then, I said, “I’m already here, I’ll just go along with it.” No matter how busy I was, how heavy the work was, I always prayed. I couldn’t pray for a long time, I prayed every few minutes. In that kind of situation, you couldn’t leave prayer. Even if it was just a few minutes, I wanted to pray. I couldn’t do without prayer. The more I no feeling. In the brothers and sisters in that kind of peaceful place. Even if sometimes I felt it was some kind of blessing. I felt today in the midst of these unbelievers, I didn’t give them anything to talk about. On the other hand, I felt sorry for them and prayed for them a lot and happily told them about faith. I gave my things to people who didn’t have things to use. This way, I passed two or three months. In September, the reeducation through labor camp issued some documents that said every cult believer would be moved to another strict supervision unit. Now I was in the second team, when I went there, I not only prayed, I also wrote in my diary and wrote the thirteen rules of the SCC in my book. When I had time, I reviewed them. Supervisor Li of the second team flipped through my diary and saw the thirteen rules. He said “your attitude is too stubborn. Your thought really hasn’t changed. You come here and still write in your diary! You come here and still believe in the SCC! If you believe in the SCC, why doesn’t your God save you. You must know who you are.” He confiscated my diary and rifled through my belongings and assigned two people to guard [baojiao] me and at the same time to give the official a report. Everyday, the tasks were difficult. Having moved to the second central team (pulling pig’s hear, the work was particularly difficult). The personnel of the reeducation through labor camp said “Li Xiu Feng, you still believe in God, why doesn’t your God save you. Your eyes are bad and you can’t pull out the pig hair. Why isn’t God helping you pick out the pig hair.” But, no matter how they snickered or ganged up on me. Alternatively, [Cold a sentence, hot a sentence], they would get angry with me, they would push me over and they would try to listen to anything I said to anyone else. If I didn’t obey them, they would curse me. With one fist, they would push you, hit you. Any little thing and they would immediately report you to the supervising officials. One time when they received an older lady from another church, I told them I wanted to go to the bathroom and they said “Go.” That day they wanted to rest, they didn’t want to monitor me, because they weren’t getting any points for monitoring me, I was so stubborn. It didn’t matter what they said, how they hit me, teased me, or criticized me. They wanted me to speak my heart, but it wasn’t any use.
The supervisor, Zhang Xiao Ying, said “Li Xiao Feng, you still have a few tricks of the trade” (where does the universe came from, is there a God, and the fall of man, she spoke). They were even more strict with me and forced me to write a statement. That day, Supervisor Li, gave me paper and a pen, that day I threw it away. Then a few members of other churches [three servants of God] came into the camp and the members wrote statements before anyone even interrogated them. This was a trial for my faith. They saw that my attitude was still stubborn. They saw that the “Grain of Life” had already written statements and they urged me to write a statement, but no matter how much they urged me, I just didn’t write. At the very end, Leader Zhang said, “everything about you is good, except that you won’t recognize your faults. If you changed your attitude, you could leave earlier, why be like this?” But no matter what they said I still stuck to my old ways. The things I wanted to do, I still did. At that time, because I didn’t know what the church’s situation was (the brothers and sisters who visited me could only give me things, they could not speak). I really missed them, especially at night (during the day the tasks were too heavy for me to think of them). But in the deep night, when everyone was quiet, I thought about the brothers and sisters of the church. I thought how is the church’s situation now? When I was resting, I thought of the church. At all times, I sang Romans 8:35-39 (“Even though the distance is a thousand Li”) (“I really want to meet my co-laborers far away”). Because of this kind of encouragement, I was able to go through this life of imprisonment. Until 2002, December 19, I returned to the church, taking this two years of life imprisonment, caused me to be even more committed to the road beneath my feet.
Zhang Xiao Hong
China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
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