Grow Up in the Midst of Persecution: Chinese Christian’s True Experience
My name is Han Jian, and I am 51 years old. I believed in thein 1994. Thanks to the great work of the Holy Spirit, in 1997, the evangelical work thrived. Seeing that, the CCP government had a conniption and began to arrest the Christians frantically.
At around 11:30 p.m. on March 31, 2001, policemen suddenly came charging into my home and arrested me. Then they took me to a place 100 meters away from my home and forced me to tell how many believers in the Lord there were in our village. I knew God’s trial befell upon me and I made a resolution not to be a Judas or sell out brothers and sisters in any case. I replied, “I don’t know.” At that point, a policeman in his 30s rushed forward and gave me a sharp slap, causing the corner of my mouth to bleed. Then he said ferociously, “If you don’t speak now, there will be a lot for you when you reach the police station!” Soon there came several police cars. After I got in the car, a policeman struck me hard on the head three times with a flashlight, my head getting two nasty lumps immediately. At past 1 a.m., we arrived at the police station. They interrogated me overnight and ordered me to squat in a seated position. They questioned me about who my superior was, how to get in touch with the superior, and the whereabouts of the church money. My replies were always “I don’t know.” At that moment, two policemen, like bandits, came forward and hit me on the chest vigorously several times with their fists. As a result, I suffered so much pain that I clutched my chest and could hardly draw breath. Facing their beatings, I was somewhat nervous and afraid: I don’t know what malicious means they will employ to torture me. Just then, I thought of the Lord’s words, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). The Lord’s words gave me faith: The policemen can kill me but cannot kill my soul, because my everything is in the Lord’s hand. No matter how they treat me, I will never betray the Lord and sell out the church and the brothers and sisters and be a Judas. Then another policeman fiercely said, “How dare you say you don’t know!” As he said, he came up to me and kicked my thighs hard twice. Then abruptly his foot swept my legs out from under me and I fell to the floor, feeling unbearable pain as if the bone was broken. I pushed my hands against the floor and tried to stand, but failed. I had to lie prone on the ground. A tall policeman cursed, “Damn you, how dare you pretend! I’d like to see you are pretending or really dead.” Two policemen carried me up, but my thighs were so unbearably painful owing to their kicks that I could not stand at all. Seeing that, they threw me to the ground. They walked back and forth, asking me, “Who is your superior? How do you get in touch with each other? Where is the church money?” Seeing I said nothing, they began to lure me, “As a matter of fact, your problem is not a big deal. As long as you answer all these questions, you’ll be out of trouble. Then we can send you home right now.” I thought: You want to induce me to sell out the Lord and our church with this trick, but I won’t fall for your trick. You want to get the church money through me. It is absolutely impossible. Seeing I remained silent, they threatened me, “If you don’t tell, just get ready for jail!” I thought to myself: Regardless of how you treat me, I will never betray the Lord. I could clearly realize that was the trial given unto me by the Lord. Then I prayed to the Lord, “O Lord, today I’m arrested by the CCP government and there is Your good purpose behind it. This is Your trial coming upon me. No matter how they torture me, by no means will I betray You.” As such, the policemen kept torturing me till past 4 a.m.
The next day, at about 10 a.m., the policemen sent me into the First Detention House in the city. I was taken to No.10 cell. A policeman opened a pitch-dark door and pushed me into the cell. Before leaving, he winked at and said to the head of the cell, “He is the most serious criminal. Take ‘good care’ of him.” After that, the large iron door was locked. Then I saw over twenty bald prisoners eyeing me with hostility. At that time, the head of the cell spoke, “Rules are rules. Ten blows each person.” They had me stand still in a corner of the wall. Then a gang of prisoners came forward and each gave me ten blows. They struck me on the chest and in the belly, so I sweat with pain. The third day, seven or eight ferocious prisoners continued to hit me on the chest with their fists. With my hands clutching at my chest from pain, I stood in the corner of the wall, but they opened my hands and continued hitting me. A prisoner of middle height suddenly thrust his knee into my lower abdomen after hitting me on the chest three to five times. Consequently, I ached unbearably and lay paralyzed on the floor, huddling up, clutching my belly, soon with sweat all over my face. Faced with such cruel beatings, I was somewhat weak and did not know when such days would come to an end. I prayed to the Lord unceasingly in my heart, “Lord, may You care for and keep me. My flesh is weak, but I know this is Your will and Your trial of me. May You give me faith so that I can overcome the weakness of my flesh.”
On the fourth day, the prisoners taught me “to fire a slingshot.” That is, they had me sit on the cement floor. Then two of them grabbed each of my arms and pulled my arms in opposite directions, and another two forcibly grabbed each of my legs and pulled them in two directions till they could not be stretched any further, and a tall prisoner ferociously kicked me on the waist twice from behind. Suddenly, I felt a tearing pain in my inner thighs. I couldn’t help uttering a heartrending cry and then collapsed on the floor. My chest was black and blue owing to their beatings. It was hard for me to breathe and I felt unbearable pain even when turning over in bed. Unconsciously, I was kind of weak: They keep torturing me this way. When do such days come to an end? The more I thought, the darker my spirit felt. Just then I remembered the Lord’s words, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever will save his life shall lose it: and whoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 16:24–25). The Lord’s words gave me faith and allowed me to know: I undergo such sufferings, which is a cross from the Lord. If I want to stand testimony, I must give up my physical life. Only in this way can I gain the life the Lord bestows upon me.
On that afternoon, several prisoners made me “fly a plane” and “watch TV.” “Flying a plane” meant: They made me bend my elbows and place my palms on the floor, bend over, and set my feet on the floor, and I was just like a horse. Then one prisoner rode on my waist, and another two pulled one of my ears respectively. In addition, they also forced me to utter the rumbling sound of a plane. In the end, the one who rode on my waist forced me to move forward bit by bit, from one end of the plank bed to the other, with a total length of more than ten meters. They did not let me stop until I was so tired that I could not crawl and lay prone on the floor. The prisoners had much nastier means. They plugged the hole of the toilet with a cloth and then filled the toilet with water. Two prisoners held one of my arms respectively and pulled them backward. Then they made me bend over, with my face facing the toilet, and let me look at my reflection. They called that “watching TV.” They forced me to tell what I was watching. They supposed that the Central News was playing, and then let me echo the contents of the news. After a while, they said it was time to change channels, and then a prisoner seized my head from behind and pressed it in the toilet. I could hardly breathe, and thus I prayed to the Lord in the heart, “Lord, my stature is so immature. May You care for and protect me, or I’ll be suffocated.” Not long after my prayer, a prisoner came over and said, “He has never eaten well since his coming here. In addition, we keep beating, cursing and torturing him, so you may be careful lest he be suffocated. Woe betide you if he has a behind-the-scenes backer.” Hearing his words, I thanked the Lord for His care and protection of me from my heart.
Even though they stopped it, they changed another way to torture me. They had me sit on the floor with my legs stretched out and then they held them. One prisoner gripped my hands and another one stamped my inner thighs hard several times. At that time, I screamed out twice in pain, with sweat all over my face, unable to stand up as if my thighs were broken. They tortured me for over half a month. After that, I could only move with the help of the wall, and moreover, I couldn’t eat my fill, so I felt that death would be better than life. However, with the Lord’s words leading me, the more they persecuted me, the more I was resolved to follow the Lord, walking the way to bear the cross. After more than a month, my chest was still black and blue.
Afterward, the policemen interrogated me three successive times. They said, “As long as you speak out the whereabouts of the church money, who your superior is, where he lives, and who your principal leaders are, then we’ll release you.” I said, “You’d better give up your wishful thinking. I won’t tell you even if I know.” They said, “After so long, don’t you figure it out yet? If you don’t think for yourself, you should consider your parents, wife and children. Your family are all concerned about you. Think it over!” At their words, I thought of my aged parents, my wife and children, and so I couldn’t help but be distressed. It was not easy for them to live, and I couldn’t take care of them but instead made them anxious about me. Thinking of that, I felt rather guilty and my tears pooled up in my eyes. In misery, I prayed to the Lord silently, “Lord, facing their questions and temptation, I was very weak. May You lead me so that I can prevail over Satan and bear a resounding witness for You.” Then they continued, “You should be a clever person. The two believers who were arrested the same day with you were clever and told what they should tell. They both handed over some money and have been at home for over half a month. So long as you speak out something useful, I’ll give you my word that you can go home at the time of harvesting wheat.” They utilized soft and tough tactics and every possible means to make me sell out. Recognizing their sinister motives, I remembered the Lord said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). I gained faith from these words. I knew: If I want to love the Lord, I need to bear this testimony well. Whatever plots they carry out, I will never sell out the interests of the church. In the end, they did not get anything they wanted, so they flew into a rage, shouting harshly, “Whether you say or not, you’re sure to be sentenced to several years of reform through labor.” Hearing their words, I bitterly hated: We believe in the Lord without doing anything illegal. Why do you treat us this way?
Under the guidance of the Lord, I passed through the miserable and unbearable eighty three days. Because I did not tell them anything about the church, they sentenced me to two years of hard labor. On the eighth day after entering the labor camp, I was sent to a labor camp in another city. There I met another two brothers who were sentenced to three years by the CCP government. While having meals, we three always stealthily fellowshiped about the Lord’s words, “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10). “The kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force” (Matthew 11:12). “Enter you in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads to life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13–14). Thank the Lord for His grace for me. The fellowships of the two brothers made my faith of standing witness much firmer. We had to work in the workshop for over ten hours every day. If we did not finish the task, we had to work overtime. The CCP government treated us like a money-making machine. After a day’s labor, we had been exhausted but had to write a report. Whoever did not finish writing it would not be allowed to go to sleep. One time, I did not finish it, so the officer asked the group leader to have me stand with a bowl on my head and two bowls on my hands in our rest room. Yet, the officer stood by, laughing at me, “Aren’t you firm in your will? See how I’ll sap your will!” Finally, I really could not stay standing and fell to the floor, the bowls breaking into pieces. He gave me several kicks angrily and then left exasperatedly.
The living conditions in the labor camp were so miserable that the prisoners were unable to eat well and most of us were malnourished. Even so, we had to do excessive work. On the Mid-Autumn Day in 2002, our group had an urgent task, so most of us did not sleep for two days and a night. Since something went wrong in our work, the officer ordered us to do push-ups in the yard of workhouse, punished us by shocking us two to five times and then forced us to continue to work. Thus, we did not sleep a wink for two days and two nights. Due to malnutrition, long-time staying up, and shocks, I was worn out and fainted on the ground. It was not until two days after I was sent to a hospital that I woke up. I was diagnosed with serious anemia and was too dizzy to stand. However, they still did not let me off. After four days’ treatment in the hospital, they forced me to work again.
In the camp house, the officers were all lawless and often abused their power. Two months before I came home, to my surprise, the officer even instigated a new prisoner to fight with me, and then they found the excuse to prevent me from going home ahead of time. Because of that, the points I received for the jobs I did were all deducted. As such, they extended my sentence by one month with the base means.
My sentence was fulfilled and I was released in April, 2003. After my returning home, because I was arrested for belief in the Lord, the villagers, relatives and friends all sneered at and kept their distance from me, considering me as a dangerous man. Accordingly, my three children’s schooling was also affected, at which I always feel grieved. I know all of this is caused by the CCP, and it is the culprit. The more hateful thing is that the CCP still does not relax its control of me. They come to my home to inquire about my situation twice a year, restrict and persecute my believing in the Lord. One time, a policeman came to my home and said, “You cannot continue to believe in the Lord. Have you forgotten what you suffered in the two years of hard labor? In sentencing you to reform through labor, is not the goal to let you learn a lesson?” Sometimes, they go to the village headman to inquire about me and make him persuade me not to believe in the Lord any longer. The more they obstruct and constrain me from belief in the Lord, the more I see clearly the CCP’s evil and darkness, which even more motivates my will to yearn for the light and justice. No matter how difficult and rugged the path ahead is, no matter how Satan disturbs me, I make up my mind that I will follow the Lord to the end!