When members of The Church of Almighty God are detained for practicing their faith in China, they are subjected to various forms of physical and mental torture.
by Cai Congxin
On June 1, 20 plainclothes police officers arrested a 17-year-old member of The Church of Almighty God (CAG) and three other co-religionists in their rented house. Before dawn the next day, the young believer was locked up in a detention house. In a room fitted with a surveillance camera, she was ordered to take off all her clothes and do squats. She was then told to go back to her cell through a long corridor, only wearing underwear, while male police officers were insulting and mocking her.
The CAG is the single most persecuted religious movement in China, whose members are often tortured to extort information about Church affairs and force them to give up their faith. Female believers are subjected to particularly cruel physical and mental torment.
“There were two cameras in my cell, both pointed at the toilet and bathing area, so I was always watched,” the believer remembered with pain. Guards threatened to deprive her of sleep if she refused to undress while washing up.
“It felt like hell on earth,” she continued. “Like me, other detained CAG members were not allowed to wear our own clothes underneath prisoners’ vests. So, believers had to borrow clothes from other women or wrap their torsos with ragged cloths when taken for interrogations.”
A CAG believer from the eastern province of Zhejiang, who was released from prison not long ago, said that guards didn’t treat CAG members like humans. “Some inmates were assigned to monitor and humiliate me,” she recalled. “I was told to stay in a squatting position or stand at attention for a long time. Other inmates would kick my knees whenever I made the slightest movement. I was often beaten and otherwise punished for not signing a confession or a statement renouncing my belief.”
To pressure her into signing, the woman was sometimes deprived of food and shower for a long time, or inmates would wake her up at night every five minutes. Several months before her release, three inmates violently beat her, while a guard filmed the scene, and four other inmates blocked the view for the surveillance camera in the cell. “They put my cellmate’s dirtiest sock in my mouth to stop me from screaming,” she recalled with horror. “As I was huddled up on the ground, one cellmate scraped my back with a spoon, while another pressed my feet with her knees and pinched my chest. They did it for a very long time.”
Just before she left the prison, guards ordered her to strip naked for examination. They told her to squat down and stand up three times and then turn around.
Another CAG believer was arrested for his faith two years ago and spent half a year in a detention house. He was 21 at the time. Guards incited other detainees to torment and humiliate him.
“They would beat me every time they discovered me praying,” the man remembered. “They tried every means possible to torment me. One day, they forced me to do push-ups and eat four packs of uncooked instant noodles. I could not eat them, so they pressed me to the bed board and put chili sauce into my anus with a toothbrush.”
His cellmates also banned him from using toilet paper. He once took some pieces in the middle of the night, while other detainees were sleeping. The next morning, his cellmates put some used toilet paper into his food and forced him to eat it. They also made him lie on the ground and lick urine around the urinal.
“Their goal was to torture me to insanity,” the man said.