The Church of Almighty God is a new Christian church in China. Since its establishment in 1991, it has suffered frantic suppression at the hands of the CCP. Throughout 2019, the CCP maintained its comprehensive ban on all religious beliefs, and its persecution of The Church of Almighty God continued to escalate. According to incomplete statistics, in 2019, at least 32,815 CAG Christians were directly persecuted by the authorities simply because of their belief in Almighty God and their engagement in such normal church activities as attending gatherings and preaching the gospel. Among them, 6,132 members were arrested; 3,824 members suffered various forms of torture and forced indoctrination; at least 19 members died as a result of persecution. Due to the fact that all of the CCP’s operations to arrest and persecute Christians were carried out in secret, coupled with its tight controls over information, these data represent merely a portion of the persecution that actually occurred.
God’s Love Was With Me in the Devil’s Dark Prison
By Yang Yi, Jiangsu Province
I am a Christian of The Church of Almighty God and I have been a follower of Almighty God for over ten years. During this time, one thing I’ll never forget is the awful tribulation when I was arrested by the CCP police a decade ago. Back then, despite my being tortured and trampled on by evil demons, and coming close to death several times, Almighty God used His mighty hand to guide and protect me, to bring me back to life, and return me to safety…. Through this, I truly experienced the transcendence and greatness of God’s life force, and gained the precious wealth of life conferred upon me by God.
It was January 23, 2004 (the second day of Chinese New Year). I needed to go and visit a sister from the church, as she was in trouble and in urgent need of help. As she lived a long way away, I had to get up early to get a taxi, so I’d be back the same day. I left home just as it was getting light. There was hardly anyone on the streets, just the workers cleaning up rubbish. I anxiously searched for a taxi, but there were none about. I went to a taxi rank to wait and stepped into the road to flag one down when I saw it coming—but it turned out to be a vehicle belonging to the Environmental Protection Bureau. They asked me why I’d flagged them down. “I’m sorry, it was a mistake, I thought you were a taxi,” I said. “We think you were putting up illegal posters,” they replied. “Did you see me doing that? Where are the posters I was putting up?” I said. Without giving me the chance to defend myself, the three of them rushed forward and forcibly searched my bag. They rifled through everything in my bag—a copy of a sermon, a notepad, a purse, a cell phone and a pager I no longer used, and so on. Then they took a closer look at the copy of the sermon and the notepad. Seeing there were no posters in my bag, they held up the copy of the sermon and said: “You might not have been putting up illegal posters, but you believe in Almighty God.” Next, they rang the National Security Brigade’s Religion Division. Soon after, four people from the National Security Brigade arrived. They knew I was a believer in Almighty God as soon as they saw the things in my bag. Without letting me say anything, they bundled me into their vehicle, then locked the door to stop me running away.
When we arrived at the Public Security Bureau, the police led me into a room. One of them fiddled with my pager and cell phone, looking for clues. He turned on the phone but it showed low battery, then the battery was completely dead. Try as he might, he couldn’t get it to turn on. Holding the phone, he looked worried. I was puzzled too—I’d just charged the phone that morning. How could it have no power? I suddenly realized that God had miraculously arranged this to stop the police from finding any information about the other brothers and sisters. I also understood the words spoken by God: “[A]ny and all things, whether living or dead, will shift, change, renew, and disappear in accordance with God’s thoughts. Such is the way in which God presides over all things” (“God Is the Source of Man’s Life” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Truly, all things and all events are in God’s hands. Whether living or dead, all things undergo change according to God’s thoughts. In this moment, I gained a true understanding of how God holds sovereignty over and orchestrates all things. What’s more, I gained the confidence I needed to rely upon God to face the coming interrogation. Pointing at the things in the bag, the police officer asked accusingly: “These show that you’re clearly no ordinary church member. You must be one of the senior leadership, someone important, as junior leaders don’t have pagers or cell phones. Am I right?” “I don’t understand what you’re saying,” I replied. “You’re pretending you don’t!” he roared, then ordered me to squat down and start talking. Seeing I wasn’t going to play ball, they surrounded me and began punching and kicking me—as though they wanted to kill me. With my face bloody and swollen, my whole body aching unbearably, I collapsed on the floor. I was incensed. I wanted to talk reason to them, to argue my case: What have I done wrong? Why did you beat me like that? But I had no way of talking sense with them, because the CCP government doesn’t talk sense. I was confused, but I didn’t want to give in to their beatings. Just as I was at a loss, I suddenly thought of how, since these evil officers of the CCP government were being so absurd, since they weren’t letting me speak any words of reason, I needn’t say anything to them. I was better off keeping silent—that way I’d be of no use to them. When I thought of this, I stopped paying any attention to what they were saying.
Seeing that this approach had no effect on me, the evil policemen flew into a rage and grew even more barbaric: They turned to torture to extract a confession. They handcuffed me to a metal chair screwed to the ground in such a position that I could neither squat nor stand. One of them placed my uncuffed hand on the chair and struck it with a shoe, only stopping when the back of my hand had gone black and blue, while another stomped on my feet with his leather shoes, rolling his shoes around on my toes to crush them, which is when I experienced an incredible, shooting pain that went straight to my heart. After that, six or seven policemen took turns at me. One of them concentrated on my joints, and pinched them so hard that a month later I still couldn’t bend my arm. Another grabbed my hair and shook my head from side to side, then wrenched it back so I was looking up. “Look at the sky and see if there’s a God!” he said viciously. They carried on until nightfall. Seeing that they weren’t going to get anything out of me, and because it was Chinese New Year, they sent me straight to the detention house.
When I arrived at the detention house, a guard ordered a female prisoner to take all my clothes off and throw them in the trash can. Then they made me put on a dirty, foul-smelling prison uniform. The guards put me in a cell and then lied to the other prisoners, saying: “She went out of her way to break up other people’s families. A lot of families have been ruined by her. She’s a liar, she deceives honest people, and upsets the public order….” “Why does she look like a simpleton?” one of the prisoners asked. To which the guards replied: “She’s putting on an act to avoid being sentenced. None of you would have been clever enough to think of doing that. Anyone who thinks she’s a fool is the biggest idiot of all.” Thus deceived by the guards, all the other prisoners said I was being let off too easily, and that the only thing good for someone as bad as me was the firing squad! Hearing this enraged me—but there was nothing I could do. My attempts at resistance had been to no avail, they had only brought more torture and savagery. In the detention house, the guards made the prisoners recite the rules every day: “Confess your crimes and submit to the law. Inciting others to commit crimes is not allowed. Forming gangs is not allowed. Fighting is not allowed. Bullying or insulting others is not allowed. Making false charges against others is not allowed. Taking others’ food or possessions is not allowed. Playing tricks on others is not allowed. Prison bullies will be cracked down on. Any violation of the rules should be reported to the correctional officers or roundsmen immediately. You must not cover up the facts or try to protect prisoners who have violated the regulations, and the prison rules must be implemented in a humane way. …” In reality, the guards encouraged the other prisoners to torment me, allowing them to play tricks on me every day: When it was 8 or 9 degrees below zero, they soaked my shoes; they secretly poured water in my food; in the evening, when I was asleep, they drenched my cotton-padded jacket; they made me sleep next to the toilet, and they often pulled off my quilt in the night and pulled my hair to keep me from sleep; they snatched my steamed buns; they forced me to clean the toilet, and forced their leftover medicine into my mouth, they didn’t let me relieve myself…. If I didn’t do anything they said, they’d gang up and beat me—and often at such times the correctional officers or the roundsmen would hurry out of view or pretend they hadn’t seen anything; sometimes they’d even hide a little way off and watch. If the prisoners went a few days without tormenting me, the correctional officers and the roundsmen would ask them: “That stupid bitch has smartened up these last few days, yes? Meanwhile, you lot have gone soft in the head. Anyone who brings that stupid bitch around will have their sentence reduced.” The guards’ brutal torment filled me with hatred for them. If I hadn’t witnessed this with my own eyes and personally experienced it, I would never believe that the CCP government, which is supposed to be full of benevolence and morality, could be so dark, fearful, and horrible—I would never have seen its true face, a face that is deceitful and duplicitous. All its talk of “serving the people, creating a civilized and harmonious society”—these are lies designed to deceive and hoodwink people, they are a means, a trick, of beautifying itself and gaining kudos it does not deserve. At that time, I thought of the words of God: “Small wonder, then, that God incarnate remains completely hidden: In a dark society such as this, where the demons are merciless and inhumane, how could the king of devils, who kills people in the blink of an eye, tolerate the existence of a God who is lovely, kind, and also holy? How could it applaud and cheer the arrival of God? These lackeys! They repay kindness with hate, they have long since disdained God, they abuse God, they are savage in the extreme, they have not the slightest regard for God, they plunder and pillage, they have lost all conscience, and have not a trace of kindness, and they tempt the innocent into senselessness. 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 The Word Appears in the Flesh). Comparing God’s words to the reality, I saw the dark and evil demonic substance of the CCP government in perfect clarity. To maintain its dark rule, it keeps a tight grip on its people, and stops at nothing to delude and deceive them. Superficially, it purports to provide religious freedom—but in secret, it arrests, oppresses, persecutes, and murders people across the country who believe in God. It even tries to put them all to death. How evil, brutal, and reactionary the devil is! Where is the freedom? Where are the human rights? Are these not all tricks by which to deceive people? Can people glimpse any hope or light living beneath its dark rule? How can they be free to believe in God and pursue the truth? Only then did I recognize that God had permitted this persecution and tribulation to befall me, that He had used it to show me the viciousness and brutality of the CCP government, to show me its demonic substance that is in enmity to the truth and hostile to God, and to show me that the People’s Police, whom the government vigorously promotes and touts as punishing evil, advocating good, and promoting justice, are the accomplices and minions it has meticulously nurtured, a bunch of executioners who have the faces of men but the hearts of beasts, and who would kill someone without blinking an eye. To force me to reject and betray God and yield to its despotic power, the CCP government stopped at nothing in torturing and ravaging me—yet little did it know that the more it tortured me, the more clearly I saw its devilish face, and the more I despised and rejected it from the depths of my heart, making me truly yearn for God and trust in God. What’s more, it was precisely because of the guards’ torture that I unwittingly came to understand what it truly means to love what God loves, and hate what God hates, what it means to turn one’s back on Satan and turn one’s heart to God, what it is to be barbaric, what the forces of darkness are, and, furthermore, what it is to be malicious and insidious, false and deceitful. I was grateful to God for letting me experience this environment, for allowing me to tell right from wrong and even more so, determine the right path of life to take. My heart—which had been duped by Satan for so long—was finally awakened by God’s love. I felt that there was great meaning in my having the fortune to experience this tribulation and trial, and that I had truly been shown special favor.
After trying everything else, the evil police came up with another plan: They found a Judas who had sold out my church. She said I believed in Almighty God and she also attempted to get me to turn my back on God. Seeing this evil servant who had reported many brothers and sisters who spread the gospel, and hearing all the wicked words that spilled from her mouth—words that vilified, slandered, and blasphemed against God—my heart was filled with fury. I wanted to shout at her, asking why she was so unconscionably hostile to God. Why was it that she had enjoyed so much of God’s grace, yet had joined forces with evil demons to persecute God’s chosen ones? In my heart, there was unspeakable sadness and pain. I also felt a great sense of remorse and indebtedness; I truly hated myself for how, in the past, I had not tried to pursue the truth, and had never known anything but the enjoyment of God’s grace and blessings like a naive child, giving no thought to the pain and humiliation God had endured for the sake of our salvation. Only now, when I was deep in this den of fiends, did I sense just how hard it was for God to work in this filthy, corrupt country, and just how great the pain He had suffered was! Truly, God’s love of man carries great pain. He does the work of saving mankind whilst enduring man’s betrayal. Man’s betrayal has brought Him nothing but pain and hurt. No wonder God once said: “Even in the space of just one night, they may go from a smiling, ‘kind-hearted’ person to an ugly-looking and ferocious killer, suddenly treating their benefactor of yesterday as their mortal enemy, without rhyme or reason” (“God’s Work and Man’s Practice” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Today, although I had fallen into the clutches of the devil, I would not betray God no matter what. Regardless of how great the hardship I suffered, I would not be a Judas for the sake of saving my own skin, and I would not cause pain and grief for God. As a result of my being sold out by that Judas, the evil police stepped up their torture. She, meanwhile, stood to one side and said: “You don’t know good from bad. You deserve this! You don’t appreciate my kindness. You deserve to be tortured to death!” Hearing these vicious, evil words incensed me—but I also felt an inexplicable sense of sadness. I wanted to cry, but I knew I must not; I didn’t want to let Satan see my weakness. In my heart, I secretly prayed: “O God! I wish for You to gain my heart. Although I can’t do anything for You at the moment, I wish to bear victorious testimony to You before Satan and this wicked person, utterly shaming them, and through this bringing comfort to Your heart. O God! May You protect my heart, and make me stronger. If I have tears, may they flow inward—I cannot let them see my tears. I should be happy because I understand the truth, for You have blown the dust from my eyes, giving me the ability to differentiate, and clearly see the nature and substance of Satan, which is to oppose You, and betray You. Amid refinement, I have also seen how Your wise hand arranges all. I wish to rely on You to face the following interrogation and defeat Satan, that You may be glorified in me.” After praying, in my heart there was the strength to not rest until I had completed my testimony to God. I knew that this had been given to me by God, that God had given me great protection and greatly moved me. The evil police wanted to use this wicked woman to make me betray God, but God is a wise God, and He employed this wicked woman as a foil to show me the rebellious nature of corrupt mankind, thus stimulating my resolve and faith to satisfy God. What’s more, I had some knowledge of God’s wise work, and I saw that God rules and maneuvers all that there is in service to perfecting the people of God. This is the indisputable fact of God using wisdom to defeat Satan.
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