Interviewer: Zheng Xin
Interviewee: He Chunlan
Date: July 8, 2022
Interviewee’s introduction: He Chunlan, female, aged 55, was born in an ordinary family in Shaanxi Province, China. Her elder brother and mother all believe in the Lord Jesus. Her brother is a pastor of a house church (the Sola Fide Church). After getting married, He Chunlan and her husband also started to believe in the Lord Jesus. At that time, the church was having a revival. Unexpectedly, one night, when more than thirty Christians were having a meeting in the house of He Chunlan’s mother, a gang of men in black, the Chinese Communist Party police, broke in with guns, and what followed was that all of He Chunlan’s family and the Christians at the meeting suffered beating, cruel tortures, and being paraded …
Zheng Xin (hereinafter referred to as Zheng): To my knowledge, you and your family are all believers in the Lord Jesus, so you must have many experiences. Could you tell us about the experience you remember most?
He Chunlan (hereinafter referred to as He): Of course. Speaking of the experience I remember most, I still shudder when I recall it. My husband and I started to believe in the Lord Jesus in June of 1993. Six months later, one night, my husband and I and a dozen brothers and sisters were gathering together at my mother’s home. Suddenly, over ten men in black broke into the room and roared: “Nobody move! Put your hands on your heads and stand by the wall. Close your eyes.” We were all petrified at the sight! We had no choice except to follow their orders. I put my hands on my head, and through the crack between my fingers I saw these men in black were aiming at us with long or short guns. They dressed like the brigands or bandits in the movies. Each of them wore black clothes, and had their heads covered in black cloth, showing only their eyes. I had never seen anything like that. Their ferocious manner and horrible clothing scared me so much that I trembled and couldn’t stand steady. At the sight of this, one man in black roared: “Stand still!” His roar made me shake even harder. My husband immediately helped me lean against the wall. Seeing that I didn’t stand still, two men in black came at me like beasts and kicked me hard twice, which caused me to stumble and hit a cabinet. It was so painful that my tears kept flowing. Immediately after that, several of us young people were pulled out and surrounded by them, and were beaten and kicked badly. Being unarmed, how could we possibly have the chance to defend ourselves? We could do nothing but put our heads in our hands and writhe on the ground. In a second, the entire house resounded with miserable cries …
I was beaten so badly that I felt dizzy and saw stars, lying on the ground without movement. I could only pray in my heart: “Oh, Lord Jesus Christ, facing this, I have some fear. May You make our hearts strong. I don’t know who these men are or why they treat us in this way. I only hope You can be with us.” After my prayer, I felt secure, no longer feeling timid or scared. At the time, several of them stayed to watch us, and the others began to rummage through boxes and chests, searching all over the house. In no time, our wardrobes, beds in the rooms were all turned into a complete mess, as if they had been swept by bandits. Seeing the scene, I shook with fright, aching all over and having little strength, and then collapsed to the ground.
Zheng: Facing their beating and searching the house, what were you thinking then? Did you know who they were?
He: It happened all of a sudden, and I was thrown into a panic. I didn’t know who they were. At the time, I thought: We are just having a Christian meeting, and we never do anything bad. Furthermore, the home is not a bank or department store, but why does it incur these bandits’ robbery? What do these robbers, underworld bandits, want? In the end, they tore the entire house apart, but they didn’t find any money or valuable things; they took away my big bag with some copies of the Bible and some big notebooks in it. And they handcuffed us all, roped us together, and then took us to the riverside. At that moment, I felt very nervous and scared because I had no idea where they would take us. They got us on a large boat to the riverside of the county, and finally put us into the police station of Chengguan Town, XX County, XX City. Then I suddenly realized: These men in black were policemen.
Zheng: It turned out that the so-called men in black were policemen! It’s really incredible! Then, what did they do to you?
He: After taking us to the police station, they shut us in a big meeting room, where I saw my elder brother and his wife—it turned out they also had been captured. They ordered us all to stand there, and then interrogated us one by one. When it was my turn, they took me to another room. Chief Yu roared fiercely: “Tell me! Who preached the gospel of the Lord Jesus to you? Do you still believe?” Seeing their terrible manner and vicious faces, I had some fear in my heart. Therefore, I constantly prayed to the Lord and asked Him to give me faith so that I would not deny the Lord’s name. Then I remembered the Lord Jesus said: “But whoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 10:33). “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 and made me understand His will: Now is the time that I bear witness for the Lord before these policemen. No matter how fierce they are, they are still in God’s hand. I should be afraid of nothing. So I answered righteously: “I believe.” At my words, he showed his ferocious feature and suddenly gave me several heavy slaps on my face. Immediately, I felt the burning pain on my cheek. After that, the policeman asked me again: “Do you still believe?” I responded more firmly: “I still believe!” I saw his face turned purple with rage. He scolded me loudly while slapping me in my face: “You still believe! You still believe! …” I saw stars at once and my mouth was filled with blood. Soon my mouth was so swollen that I couldn’t open it, and two of my teeth became loose. Just like this, the police kept asking me the same question; I responded with the same answer. Every time I gave my answer, he would slap my face hard and speak some atrocious words and blasphemous words. At that point, I was in great agony and felt extremely miserable. I thought: What we do is just believing in God. We neither break the law nor do bad things, but we suffer such cruel persecution, beating and cursing of the CCP government. If I hadn’t seen this with my own eyes, I couldn’t believe that the CCP can do such conscienceless things in order to persecute Christians and suppress religious beliefs.
In the evening, I saw my elder brother who was a preacher and another brother from out of town suffer severe torture. They, in handcuffs and fetters, had no chance to defend themselves. The police took turns to beat them until they were barely breathing. Blood oozed out from their clothes; all their clothes were dyed with blood. I also saw the police wantonly beat the brothers and sisters with sticks. Even when the sticks were broken, they still didn’t stop, and even kicked the brothers and sisters with their military leather shoes. When they finally finished abusing, insulting, and torturing us, it was already over two o’clock in the morning. It was a cold winter’s night, and we stood all night, trembling all over, and were almost frozen. When I saw these cruel scenes, it felt like my heart was being carved by knives, and I couldn’t help shedding tears. That night, I did a lot of thinking. Meanwhile, I also was afraid and didn’t know how the police would torture us on the second day. I could only keep praying to the Lord and ask Him to help us get through this difficulty.
Zheng: Then, how did they treat you the next day?
He: The things they did on the second day were even more unexpected for me. They ordered us to stand in a line in early morning. And then the chief of the police station called the roll. As one on the list was called, his hands would be forcibly pulled backward and tightly tied together, and a sign would be hung around his neck with his name on it and the words “Core member of cult.” About thirty armed police took us to walk along the streets all over the county. Thinking of that scene, I still feel extremely miserable now. I often heard the seniors talking about the CCP’s criticizing the landlords and rich peasants in the Cultural Revolution, but I had never expected the tragedies that happened in the 1960s would repeat among us Christians in the 1990s. After the shame parade, those armed police officers took us to a dam to attend our public trial, where we stood at the very front with signs hanging around our necks. Police cars were parked all round. A dense mass of people from government organizations of the entire county and common people all crowded there, and thousands of eyes stared at us. The most painful thing for me was that all my family were publicly tried there and were regarded as sinners in the eyes of our relatives and friends. At that point, I wished I could get into a hole in the ground. I felt extremely miserable in my heart. Just at the moment, I thought of the Lord Jesus’ words: “You shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized with shall you be baptized” (Mark 10:39). “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10). Then, I thought of the picture that the Lord Jesus was innocently nailed on the cross for redeeming mankind. I thought: The Lord is holy. But in order to save the corrupt humans, He endured the ridicule and slander of the world. The Lord had long endured these sufferings for us. Since we believe in God today, we are walking the way of the cross and enduring the same sufferings with the Lord. Though my self-respect suffers great harm, it is a blessed thing to be able to suffer with the Lord. The Lord’s words comforted me, so it was no longer so painful in my heart. Afterward, they put my husband and me and some brothers and sisters into the detention house on the charge of “joining in the cult—the Society of Disciples.” In the detention house, what we ate was some rotten vegetables without any oil and watery congee. The cell was humid and dark, and the worn bedclothes were thin, dirty, and fetid. It was so cold in the cell that we had to huddle up. We did everything just in that one small room—eating, drinking, defecating, and urinating, so the environment was terribly bad and stinky. The prisons in China are really hell on earth. The conditions are inhuman. My husband and I were kept in custody for one month until a relative ransomed us for four hundred yuan when the New Year was near.
Zheng: Do you have some thoughts and feelings after experiencing this persecution?
He: Due to the inhuman persecution of the CCP government, my two ears were injured, and my hearing was significantly reduced. I see the CCP is an atheistic regime. As long as people believe in the true God in China, they will suffer its oppression and persecution. Its claim of freedom of religious belief and legal rights and interests of citizens is only to deceive the world. The CCP is precisely a party which is hostile to God. It just wants people to listen to it but not to worship the true God. Although I suffered the cruel persecution of the CCP, I see the Lord’s protection accompanies me all the time, and my faith to follow the Lord to the end is strengthened.