A couple who are both members of The Church of Almighty God were arrested for their belief and tortured with drugs, among other methods.
In 1986, China signed the United Nations Convention Against Torture, also known as UNCAT. It was ratified two years later in 1988, but to date, China continues to flout the rules and regulations of the charter. It has been persecuting and torturing people for their religious beliefs and ethnicities. As much as 100 forms of torture are commonly used in China. Some of those include forcing victims to drink hot-chili water, mustard oil, fecal matter, concentrated brine; exposing the person to extreme hot or cold temperatures; inserting needles or bamboo sticks underneath the fingernails; and finally, drug-induced torture.
Of all forms of torture, drug-induced torture is the worst because there is little physical violence involved in this case and so, nobody has any reason to be suspicious. This is done by contaminating the victim’s food with a nerve-damaging drug over an extended period of time. As a result, victims can lose their memory, become delirious, develop incoherent speech, fall into a vegetative state, have hallucinations, and in some cases, might even die.
Recently, Bitter Winter received news of a Chinese couple that was subjected to the drug-induced forms of torture. Cheng Qicai and his wife Zhou Youxia from the Pukou district of Nanjing in Jiangsu Province are both in their late forties. They joined The Church of Almighty God, a Chinese Christian new religious movement, in 2012.
In October 2016, the police officers of the Tangquan station, led by Mr. Gao, showed up at the couple’s home without a warrant. Not only did they confiscate the couple’s laptops and cell phones, they also arrested both for “believing in Almighty God,” which is a “violation of the State law and a disturbance to social security.”
Following the arrest, both were taken to the basement of the Shixing Hotel nearby and were interrogated separately and secretly. And then, their nightmare began.
Cheng Qicai was kept in a small room. The officers would order him to remain standing against the wall and deprived him of sleep. His three meals provided by the police were laced with several drugs. On the third morning, Cheng finally felt sick and groggy from the drugs. But he still refused to answer questions about the Church. As a result, he was beaten mercilessly by four police officers and was left with several scars all over his body. He was also stripped down to his boxer shorts and made to stand in front of the air-conditioner, set to the freezing mode. Meanwhile, as he continued to eat the drug-laced meals provided by the police, he began to hallucinate as well. Even then, the beatings and abuse continued.
Nearby, his wife, Zhou Youxia, suffered a similar fate. Because she ate the food provided by the police, she began to hallucinate as well. She would “see” her family members being beaten to death by the police or “hear” people calling out her name. She also imagined believers and other people committing suicide. There were times when Ms. Youxia could not control herself and ended up provoking the officers by mocking them. She would get beaten and slapped around as a result, and in one instance, her head was banged on the floor repeatedly until she became unconscious. In November 2016, however, she was taken to the Shifosi detention center for medical examination due to her growing injuries. When she transferred to the hospital next morning, it was found that she was suffering from a host of medical problems like lung infection, hypo-leukemia, high inositol, acute coronary syndrome, and severe muscular injury. While the officers were reluctant to get her treatment at first, they had to relent finally. Upon further examination, it was revealed that she was suffering from bilateral pubis fractures as well.
On the other hand, Mr. Qicai’s medical examination showed he had scapula ligament injuries and a broken rib. Fearing that both or either one of them might die while in detention, the police officers released the couple. Today, both are unable to take care of themselves physically and mentally.
Reported by Jiang Tao
Jiang Tao (uses pseudonyms for security reasons), aged 42, is from Henan Province. He previously served as a magazine editor and has long been concerned about vulnerable groups that are being persecuted in China. He has written a variety of commentaries probing human rights issues in China, and his articles have been published in international journals. After leaving his magazine job in 2015, he started visiting and interviewing persecuted religious groups and other vulnerable groups and gathering information about incidents. He joined Bitter Winter in 2018, and since then is dedicated to reporting the persecution incidents in Henan, Shanghai, Anhui, and other regions.