Christian Subjected to Mistreatment and Indoctrination in Prison Term, Suffering Physical and Emotional Harm

According to the confidential document entitled “Opinions on Strengthening and Improving Prison Work” issued by the CCP government in April of 2019, Christians of The Church of Almighty God (CAG) are labeled as key targets of forced indoctrination and transformation. Prison authorities accross the country inflict all sorts of torture methods on detained Christians in an effort to force them to sign the “three statements” and renounce their faith. CAG Christian Li Fang in Zhejiang Province was arrested and jailed for nothing more than her belief in Almighty God. Because she refused to sign the “three statements” while serving her sentence in prison, she was subjected to forced indoctrination and maltreatment for up to 10 months, which caused severe physical and psychological harm to her.

On the afternoon of July 2, 2017, Li Fang (alias, 59 years old) was sorting out church materials in a rented flat with two other CAG Christians when more than ten police officers burst into their flat and forcibly controlled them. They then raided the flat and seized 700 RMB (about 102 USD), four laptops and other items and escorted three Christians including Li Fang to the local police station. That night, the interrogation for Li Fang yielded nothing; the following day, the police transferred her to the local detention center.

In January 2019, Li Fang was sentenced to two years and three months and fined 10,000 RMB (about 1,450 USD) by the court for “using a xie jiao organization to undermine the enforcement of the law.” She was then sent to prison to serve her time.

As soon as she entered the prison, the guards dispatched two prisoners with heavy sentences to monitor Li Fang and carry out indoctrination and transformation. They threatened her, saying “We’ll never let you off if you don’t denounce your faith.” They forced her to maintain a certain sitting posture, having her sit straight on a small stool just 20 cm high for many hours, keep her legs close together, hold her fingers straight and put them on knees, without allowing her to move. Li Fang already suffered from sciatica as well as a lumbar disc hernia; a short while later, that kind of torment left her midsection terribly sore and in unspeakable pain. Seeing that she refused to write the statements, they intimidated her, saying “You break the law by believing in Almighty God. If you don’t comply, we’ll make you wish you’d never been born.”

In or around April, seeing she still wouldn’t give in, the prison guards ordered two other prisoners who were even more brutal to further torture Li Fang. They ordered her to stand up straight and hold two 3cm-thick heavy books under her armpits with her hands tight against her legs, and forced water down her throat the moment a book fell. The following day, they continued forcing Li Fang to hold two 6cm-thick hardcover books under her armpits with the same posture. When she failed to maintain such a posture, a glass of water was forced down her throat and her supper food was deducted .

Those prisoners also attempted to force her to write things blaspheming God, and when Li Fang clenched her fists and refused to comply, three prisoners grabbed her together, attempting to straighten her fingers and wantonly stabbed her hand with the tip of a pen and slammed it against a table; her hand started bleeding, swelled up like a balloon on the spot and were covered in bruises (the torture scars are still visible). She was in such pain that she fell down under the table, but she still refused to write anything blaspheming God. The other prisoners were so enraged that they shouted at her, abused her, grabbed her hands to scratch on the paper and smacked her across the sides of her face.

That night, two prisoners covered the security camera with a quilt, pushed Li Fang down onto the floor, and then started stomping on her ribs. Li Fang was in so much pain that she was struggling violently and crying out. She was lying on the floor unable to get up, and was experiencing pain while breathing. This made her long for death.

In addition to corporal punishment, Li Fang was forced to read negative propaganda materials and watch videos that slandered The Church of Almighty God, and then write reflections afterward. She was also compelled to write responses in praise of the CCP. The prison guards later warned her not to tell anyone about the corporal punishment she had been subjected to and restricted her from communicating with others. Besides, Li Fang was forced to perform labor by the prison guards, in the form of ironing clothing. Every time she had to pick up an iron, she felt an enormous pain in her chest, as if it were to split open. It was only after two months that she began to notice a very slight improvement in her condition.

One day in June, the prisoners ordered Li Fang to publicly announce materials of denouncing CAG in a prison event but got refused.

Li Fang served out her sentence in October 2019 and was released, but she is still under very close surveillance. Over two years’ imprisonment was extremely damaging to her both physically and emotionally.

According to the source, she had been arrested by the police because of her faith in God in 2004. At that time she had been subjected to cruel torture including the “flying eagle,” and then sentenced to 2 years and 6 months’ term in prison.