WANG YICHI | BITTER WINTER
Between January and March 2021, in Jiangsu, Henan, Sichuan, and other provinces, devotees were arrested. Many were tortured.
“Chair” and “split” tortures
In January 2021, at least 123 members of The Church of Almighty God (CAG) were arrested by the police in the eastern province of Jiangsu. Many of them were detained in hotels, and subjected to torture during interrogation.
A female CAG member was arrested while in a meeting. During interrogation, the police trampled hard on her toes with their leather shoes, and slapped her on the face with book rolls. To extort information about the church, several police officers subjected her to the tortures of “being seated on a chair,” “doing the splits,” and so on.
The officers forced her arms backward, put them on the back of a chair behind her, and pulled her handcuffs downward as hard as possible. Then, they put her feet on the edge of another chair in front of her, so that her body was suspended in the air in the shape of a right angle.
“It felt that my arms were nearly broken, so much so that I sweated all over the body, and could not help screaming,” she told Bitter Winter, adding that she was tormented this way for several times, and was given continuous slaps. Then, she reported, two officers pulled her feet in opposite directions, and she screamed in pain. They also slapped her buttocks and thighs continuously with a stick. The torture left her hands and feet numb.
On January 14, 2021, 17 CAG members were arrested within one day in Jiangsu’s Huai’an city. At 4 p.m. that day, more than 20 police officers broke into a residential building and arrested seven CAG members, and confiscated significant church donations and belongings. They took the CAG members to a hotel for separate interrogation. A released CAG devotee told Bitter Winter that she heard in the hotel other fellow members screaming during their interrogations by torture.
On February 15, during the Chinese lunar new year, the police in Zigong city in the northwestern province of Sichuan arrested more than 50 CAG members after Skynet monitoring and secret tracing. Bitter Winter learned that the arrested CAG members were forced to sit still facing the wall for over 18 hours every day during their detention, and the police did not allow them to speak or doze off.
Tortured CAG member tried to commit suicide
It is common for CAG members to be subjected to torture after being arrested. According to the 2020 CAG annual report, at least 5,587 CAG members were subjected to various tortures last year.
In October 2020, a CAG member from Jiangsu Province was arrested, and later the police tormented him because he refused to disclose information about the church. They confined his hands and feet in iron rings of two tiger benches—a kind of torture device, and moved the benches in opposite directions. When he could not bear so much pain from the torture, he tried to kill himself by biting off his tongue. Noticing this, the police put a towel into his mouth. As he still did not tell what the tortures wanted to hear, the police fisted his head and back.
Female devotee locked in a wooden cage
On July 13, a female CAG member from the southeastern province of Jiangxi was locked in a wooden cage after being arrested by the police. Except for the time for going to the toilet, she was asked to sit in the cage 24 hours a day. Whenever she dozed off, the police would shout and wake her up, and also use an electric fan to blow air toward her. This mistreatment lasted 15 days. The torture left her with rheumatism. Though she has been released from detention, she is still under the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s surveillance.
Other female CAG members tortured
“In the interrogation room, the police used a bright light to shine into my eyes,” a female CAG member from Jiangxi Province told Bitter Winter. She told that though she had serious high blood pressure, the police sent her into a detention house on July 13, 2020 rather than to a hospital. That night, she bled for 40 minutes due to a ruptured nasal blood vessel. Although she was sent to the doctor, the police only asked the doctor to deal with her briefly, and then took her back to the detention house.
On September 18, 2020, a female CAG member from the eastern province of Jiangsu who suffered from a cerebrovascular disease, was arrested by the police. To extort information on the church from her, the police seized her hair and pulled her head back and forth, gave her hard slaps on the face, and knocked on her head. Cruel torture and repeated interrogations caused her to have a relapse of her old illness, when her body trembled unceasingly, and she even fainted and fell down. After giving her a few pills, the police went on interrogating her.