By Yong Gai
My name is Yong Gai, and I’m 72 years old this year. In 1992, I accepted the Lord Jesus. Because I ardently pursued, I was promoted to be one of the main co-workers. Since then I usually preached and worked outside and accordingly, I suffered the Chinese government’s arrest.
Around 11 p.m. on June 15, 1996, my family and I had fallen asleep. Suddenly, I was awakened by the dog’s barking. Then I heard “bam bam bam” from the door. I asked, “Who is that?” I heard a man said viciously, “It’s the police. Open the door quickly!” I thought: It’s so late. What do they come to me for? Just as I opened the door, six or seven policemen rushed into my room. Two of them grasped me and forcibly twisted my arms, pushing me out of the door. Before I recovered from this sudden arrest, another man kicked me hard twice and said furiously, “We’ve tried to capture you three times, but you had us running around in circles. This time, we’ve finally caught you.” When I turned my back and glanced at him, I found it was the director of the Public Security Division. More than ten sturdy guys were standing beside the door with electric batons and sticks in their hands. I struggled and said, “Why do you arrest me? What law have I broken?” One of the police said, “Your belief in the Lord is illegal. Your preaching is disturbing the social order and is against the law.” I said, “Believing in the Lord is a good thing. How could you say it’s disturbing the social order?” They seemingly didn’t hear me, and still marched me to the road with more than ten police following on either side and behind. After walking about fifty meters, I saw several police cars ahead. They pushed me into a car, and handcuffed my hands to it. About half an hour later, the car stopped. They opened the handcuff and pulled me out of the car. Then they shoved me into a dark room just 10-odd square meters with only an empty cement floor. They all looked ferocious, so I couldn’t help but feel scared. So, I prayed to the Lord, “O Lord Jesus! Thanks be to You! The policemen take me here and I feel afraid. May You give me faith. I am willing to rely on You and stand firm in the testimony! Amen!” After my prayer, my heart was calmed.
At around eight o’clock a.m. on June 18, it was rainy. Two policemen handcuffed my hands and pushed me into a car. About half an hour later, they took me to the municipal Public Security Bureau. One policeman put me in a cell and then intentionally raised his voice, “Listen carefully! This is a believer in the Lord! Make sure that he will be taken care of.” Hearing his words, the prisoners came to punch and kick me. I writhed on the floor in pain, and screamed unceasingly. One of the prisoners pulled me up from the floor and pushed me back against the wall, letting each of the eight strong prisoners hit hard on my chest seven times. Then he let me turn back with my face against the wall, and made each of them hit hard on my back eight times. I immediately felt I couldn’t breathe and ached unbearably. I cried and prayed to the Lord silently in my heart: “O Lord! May You protect me! I feel too miserable to bear it. I think I’m going to die. Lord, I give my life to You.” In my prayer, I seemed to see that the Lord Jesus was covered with wounds, bore the heavy cross and walked toward Calvary. “The Lord Jesus was innocent, but He was willing to be crucified to save mankind. I am a sinner who received God’s mercy, so why can I not dedicate my life to the Lord?” At that moment, I heard someone say, “We can’t beat him anymore, or he will die.” I felt relieved in my heart, knowing this was the Lord’s compassion and care for me. One prisoner held me up, and asked, “What law did you break?” I said weakly, “I’m a believer in the Lord. I didn’t break any law.” He said, “Believing in the Lord is being a good person. Why did they arrest you?” I said, “Because they don’t allow people to believe in the Lord.” Hearing what I said, some prisoners said, “Believers in the Lord are good people. We cannot beat him anymore.” At that time, I thanked the Lord for His protection: If He hadn’t protected me, I would have been beaten to death. At this moment, I thought of the Lord Jesus’ words: “For whoever will save his life shall lose it: and whoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 16:25). “Yes, God is testing my faith by the things that happened to me. When I gave my life to the Lord, He protected my life. My life and death are both in the Lord’s hands.”
Around 8:30 a.m. on June 24, a policeman handcuffed me and took me to the interrogation room. The police there pounded the table and shouted, in a harsh tone and with a severe expression, “The Party’s policy is to be lenient to those who confess, and harsh to those who resist. Speak! Who preached to you? Who did you preach to?” I said angrily, “The state law says, ‘everyone enjoys freedom of religious belief, and the state protects the legal rights and interests of people.’ Why did you arrest me? This is illegal.” A policeman, who seemed to be the head of the police, sneered sinisterly, “Regarding religious freedom, that’s to deceive the public. To tell you the truth, China wanted to join the World Trade Organization. But any country without religious belief cannot join the United Nations. Under such circumstances, China has to list religious belief freedom in the constitution. These regulations are for foreigners to see. Except for the Three-Self Church, believing in any religion is against the law. The Communist Party is the law, and no one can change it.” When I heard what he said, I came to know: It turns out that the Communist Party deceives people by including religious freedom in the constitution. The CCP is too cunning. Seeing I didn’t say anything, the policeman said viciously, “Someone reported that you preached everywhere. How many people have you preached to? Confess honestly!” At this time, I thought of the words of the Lord Jesus: “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mat 5:10). I prayed to the Lord silently in my heart, “Lord, today I suffer their persecution, and it’s having a part in Your sufferings. This is a blessing for me. I’m willing to bear the cross, not selling out brothers and sisters.” When they saw they couldn’t get anything from my mouth, one of the police changed his tone and said, “Do you know that believing in the Lord will affect your children’s prospects? If you confess, we’ll let you go immediately.” Hearing that, I felt very distressed and thought: If I don’t speak, not only will I suffer more severe torment, but my children’s prospects will be ruined. If I tell the policemen, I will sell out brothers and sisters and become an eternal sinner. Thinking of this, I couldn’t even express how I felt, and tears pooled up in my eyes. The police saw that I was wavering, he took the opportunity to light a cigarette and put it into my mouth. Suddenly, the scene where the serpent enticed Eve to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil came into my mind. I realized this was the devil’s scheme. I spat the cigarette out on the floor. When they saw I was immune to both soft and hard tactics, they locked me again. Later, they questioned me twice, but they didn’t get any results. Thus, they put me into the detention house.
On the morning of September 23, a policeman opened the door of the cell and took me out. I saw a barber was shaving a prisoner’s head. The police pressed me on a chair, making the barber shave all my hair off. Then he hung a big sign around my neck, on which was written “cracking down on religious beliefs.” After that, they pushed me into a car and handcuffed my hands to the car, driving me to the towns and villages to parade. This went on for a week. I was blazing with anger, and wanted to cry out: I just preached for the Lord and made people trust in the Lord, so that they could confess their sins and repent, and shun evil. But I have unexpectedly suffered this persecution. On the morning of October 1, after being questioned, I was charged with “preaching illegally and disturbing the social order” and was sentenced to two and a half years in prison. At around 8:00 a.m. on October 2, they handcuffed me and four other Christians and pushed us into a car, driving us to a reeducation through labor camp. After we arrived there, we were pushed into a room. Upon entering the room, I felt startled. There were all brothers and sisters in the Lord. One brother told me that there were 108 believers in the room, and that there was no telling whether there were any in other rooms. Hearing these words, I gnashed my teeth with hatred, thinking: We believers in the Lord don’t steal or rob, and what we do is good things. How could they arrest us?
Two days later, I was assigned to the education team. As soon as I entered the cell, the head of the cell forced me to kneel down and asked the prisoners to kick me more than ten times. Then he had me squat on the floor for a long time. Next, he asked me to butt the angle bar of the railing of the bed and bend over to be beaten by a stool. After I was beaten three times, my head was broken and bleeding. The head of the cell then ordered me to bend my body, with my palms pressing against the floor and my head upside down. From then, they usually tortured me like this at least for three hours and sometimes, for more than half a day. On October 11, I was put in another cell, the cell boss said to me, “Did you know? You believers in the Lord are sent here, so that we can manage you. In the evening, you’ll see us eat dumplings.” I thought: “It’s good if we can eat dumplings here.” When it was evening, several prisoners lifted a man covered with a quilt before me, saying, “Today, you’ll see how we eat dumplings.” Then six prisoners kicked the man to death. The cell boss said, “This is the outcome of believers in the Lord.” Having spoken, he opened the quilt. When I saw the man was Brother Wang who I knew, I was so scared. Seeing I was afraid, he threatened me and said, “If you want to live on, give me your money.” As this was said, he extended his hand to me. After that, the money and the food sent by my family were all given to him. I, an ambitious man, was tortured by these devils like a weak sheep. Once thinking of Brother Wang who was beaten to death, I felt numb all over, as if I was punch-drunk. It was too terrifying. The prison guards there didn’t treat us as humans, and no one would pay attention even if we were beaten to death. I was furious but dared not say anything. I could only pray to the Lord desperately in my heart: “O Lord! It’s right and proper for us to believe in You. Why does the CCP treat us so cruelly? Lord! The bitter cup You drank I should also drink. May You give me faith and strength.”
Later, I was assigned to dig trees in the labor camp. One day when the prison officer called the roll after work, a correctional officer was sleeping on the chair beside me. In order not to wake him up, when my name was called, I didn’t answer loudly. The guard raised an electric baton and hit me to the extent that my head was broken and bleeding. I felt anguished, thinking, “I’m a great man, but suffered such humiliation. This is really a hell on earth.” Two and a half years of prison life tortured me into a nervous wreck. Every day, I couldn’t eat my fill, and had to labor for more than ten hours. Besides, I was usually oppressed and humiliated by the prison guards, and I would be beaten fiercely anytime. The prison in China is not a place for people to stay. Without the Lord’s mercy, I would have long been tortured to death.
On May 1, 1999, I was released and got out of that hell on earth. Before I left, the officer said, “After you go back home, don’t believe in the Lord any longer. If you are arrested once again, you will be sentenced severely.” After I came back home, two policemen came to my home and threatened me, “You must stop believing in the Lord, otherwise, you will be imprisoned again.” Hearing their words, I hated the Chinese government with all my heart. No matter whether I was put in jail, I would follow the Lord to the end.
Having experienced the CCP’s cruel arrest and persecution, I finally see clearly that the slogans preached by the CCP, “the CCP is great, glorious and correct” is actually to deceive and blind people. In China, there is no freedom of religion, and the freedom of religion promoted by the CCP is to deceive the world and people. Thinking back to the days when I was in the prison of the CCP, I suffered cruel torments and fainted several times. If I hadn’t been protected by God, I would have died there. Every time I was weak, it was the Lord’s great love of the cross that moved me and led me, making me have faith and strength all the way. No matter what environment I will encounter later, no matter how the CCP will persecute me, I’m willing to devote my entire life to the Lord.