Victim Zhang Laigu was female, 35 at the time, and lived in Nanling County, Wuhu City, Anhui Province. She joined The Church of Almighty God (CAG) in 2003 and was responsible for spreading the gospel. She was outgoing, lively, and cheerful. At the end of 2012, Zhang was arrested under false pretext by the Chinese Communist Government in Shanghai when she was spreading the gospel, and she died in custody after being illegally detained. Below is the full story of Zhang’s arrest, torture, and death at the hands of the Chinese Communist Government.
Zhang Died in Custody After She Was Arrested Under False Pretext When Spreading the Gospel
At 8 p.m. of December 12, 2012, when spreading the gospel in a community in Fengcheng Town, Fengxian District, Shanghai, Zhang Laigu was arrested by seven or eight plainclothes police officers from the Fengcheng Town Police Station. That evening, she was transferred to the Shanghai Minhang District Detention Center.
According to the recollections of a Christian with the surname Li (who was detained in the adjacent cell to Zhang Laigu), Zhang was referred to “Anonymous” in the detention center because she refused to give her name. She was frequently subjected to verbal abuse by the guards, and bullying and physical abuse by the other prisoners. Despite it being the middle of winter, she was not allowed to drink warm water. The last time Li saw Zhan Laigu was when she heard the loudspeaker announce, “Anonymous prisoner no.36, come out!” Soon after, she saw Zhang pass in front of her cell, but Zhang didn’t dare turn her head to look at her. Li says Zhang had a grave expression on her face. She looked sallow and wan, there were bags under her eyes, she seemed helpless. There was great sadness in her eyes; Li sensed she had suffered a great injustice. Li winked and nodded at Zhang, trying to cheer her up, but Zhang gave no response. After that, Li heard no further news of Zhang Laigu. It wasn’t until she was released from prison that she discovered Zhang had died in custody.
The police told Zhang Laigu’s family that she had torn her trousers into a rope and hanged herself in the toilet. “The police were lying,” Li says. “At the detention center where I was held with Zhang Laigu, the toilet lights were embedded into the wall. The walls were covered in smooth tiles and were curved and slightly sloping, without any corners or edges. They were also 4m high. There wasn’t anywhere you could tie something. There’s no way she could have hanged herself in there.”
The Police Tried to Threaten Zhang’s Family to Cover up Their Evildoing
Following Zhang’s death, the Shanghai Minhang District Detention Center informed her family that she had committed suicide whilst in her custody. Zhang’s family was shocked. That’s because they knew her as a strong, cheerful person. There was no way she would have killed herself. They felt outraged. Twenty or thirty of her relatives went to the detention center in Minhang District, Shanghai to seek justice and demand to see Zhang Laigu’s body. When they saw her body and tried to take pictures, the police immediately forced them to stop. Zhang’s relatives were incensed and started arguing with the police—who, seeing the way things were going, immediately threatened that “Anyone who causes trouble will be arrested!” Immediately afterward, they shut the group of twenty or thirty relatives in a large hall in the detention center and cross-examined each of them on their relationship with Zhang Laigu. During this time, they didn’t allow any of them to leave.
On January 12, 2013, the body of Zhang Laigu was cremated at the crematorium in Minhang District. The Shanghai Municipal Public Security Bureau provided 700,000 RMB in compensation to her family.
After Zhang Laiju’s death, the Shanghai Municipal Public Security Bureau and the Public Security Bureau of Nanling County, Wuhu City, Anhui Province sent four police cars containing eight officers to the home of her parents, where they threatened to outlaw all religious assemblies in the village.