Authorities in China’s Shandong tortured a house church leader and imprisoned two others for their religious belief.
In September 2013, Heze city officials launched a unified seizure operation against house churches in the area. At Li Gang’s (pseudonym) church alone, 48 individuals were apprehended.
To obtain more information from Mr. Li, he was tortured by sleep deprivation for three days. When that proved to be unsuccessful, the police hoisted his hands in the air and handcuffed him. They also tied stones around his body to increase the pressure. After that, they took turns to beat him with electric batons.
Mr. Li often felt unconscious during his interrogation but ultimately, refused to talk. He was then transferred to the Cao County Detention Center and held there illegally for eight months. At the center, he was tortured by being forced to peel 25 kgs of garlic every day until his fingernails fell off.
Shortly after, Mr. Li was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison for “using a xie jiao organization to undermine law enforcement” by the people’s court of Cao County. Xie jiao refers to heterodox teachings in China and is punishable under Article 300 of the Chinese Criminal Code.
Mr. Li’s family tried paying 50,000 RMB (over 7,000 USD) in bribes to rescue him but to no avail.
Another member of the church leadership was arrested on similar charges. He was given three years in prison, where he suffered a mental breakdown. A believer was also sentenced to two years in prison, and even when his family paid over 200,000 RMB (almost 30,000 USD) in bribes, he could not get out and had to complete his sentence.
Reported by Jiang Tao