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ICC Note

This is the testimony of a sister in China . Please pray for her, and the many others like her, in this country.

Testimony of sister Tong Cuijuan

China Aid Association

To read the full story, click here: Testimony of sister Tong Cuijuan

I am Tong Cuijuan,born on May 19, 1983, a resident of Taiqian County , Henan Province. As an evangelist, I used to do evangelism in Xiangfan City , Hubei Province. On August 14, 2001, while we were gathering, I was arrested by the police of Zhongxiang City , Hubei Province, and put into Zhongxiang Detention Center , where I was detained two months. There were several other members of South China Church who were detained together with me, namely Ren Haihua, Cui Guilian, Liu Zhongju, Song Fanju, Zhang Hongjuan, Wang Lan, Chi Fating, Li Li and Wang Lier.

Ren Haihua was interrogated on August 15, and Cui Guilian and Liu Zhongju on August 16. Song Fanju, a 17-year-old girl, was interrogated on the after noon of August 16. She did not come back until ten o’clock at night. She smelled cigarette. There were blisters all over her arms, chest and ankles. The police later sent her some medicines.

On August 17, I was interrogated, which lasted 15 hours. There were three interrogators, namely Zhang Feng (Director of Chengzhong Police Station), Zhang Liqing, and an unknown officer.

Usually interrogations were conducted in standard interrogation rooms. But they took me to an out-of-the-way residential room. At first, they treated me well, even offering me a pear and a drink. They told me if I revealed them all I knew, they even wanted to adopt me as their daughter. And they asked me to confess two things. One was about myself, the other about “teacher-student love”. I asked them, “What is ‘teacher-student love’?” They said, “Your teacher is a bad guy, and has raped many women. As one of the victims, you shall cooperate with us, bringing him to justice.” Realizing they wanted me to confess that Pastor Gong raped me, I said, “I don’t know what you are talking about. It comes out of thin air.” Then they gave me ten minutes to reconsider my position. At that moment, I heard painful screams coming out of the next door. They said, “Did you hear that? Chi Tongyuan, sister of Chi Gaofeng, is screaming painfully, for she refuses to confess. If you refuse to cooperate with us, we will beat you also.” Ten minutes later, I still refused their demands. They turned cruel, closing the door and windows, cuffing my hands, chaining my feet, and pushing me downing from the chair. Zhang Liqing, one of the officers, touched the chain with an electric prod, making a lot of splashes. I realized I was about to be beaten. Right at that moment, one man came in, asking them not to beat me, and telling me to cooperate with the police. Later we knew that this man was Liu, section chief of the Religious Affairs Office of the Public Security Bureau of Zhongxiang City. Then the officers removed the handcuffs and chain, and taught me something about life, marriage, and family, saying, “You are only 18 years old. And you are so pretty. Do not waste your youth. Do not be afraid that you might be excommunicated from the church. Since your teacher is in our custody, no one will expel you. And do no fear you might be sentenced. So long as you cooperate with us, we have the power to decide whether to convict you or acquit you.” The more they talked to me, the more I became troubled. Understanding I could not make up things that did not exist, I continued to keep silent. And they said, “Maybe we are too kind and merciful towards you. We tell you our patience is limited. Do not irritate us.” I told them, “Do not force me. Or I will commit suicide.” And they said, “Do not threaten us. If you want to die, it is easy. See there is a ditch outside the window. One of the members of your church was already buried there.” I really wanted to kill myself at that moment, for I was pressured too much.

At noon, two officers were taking naps. So Officer Zhang Feng took me to another room, persuading me to cooperate with them. My conscience told me I could not set up my teacher, a good man. After waking up from their naps, they continued the interrogation. And I told them, “You have talked to me too much. If I continue to keep silent, you might beat me more cruelly. So I will say something. After that, you may start to beat me. I know you are police officers. You talked to me so much in order to investigate the case. But I cannot make up things that do not exist. I cannot frame my teacher, claiming that he raped me. And I cannot betray my church.” Before I finished what I was saying, they turned angry, cursing me, “Bitch, you need to be taught a lesson. Today we will see whether you are a true hero.” While cursing, they locked the door and window, cuffed my hands and chained my feet again. One officer grabbed my hairs. One held me tightly. And one beat me on the chest, head and back with the electric prod. I struggled hard, and screamed aloud because of the pains. Then they thrust the prod into my mouth, so that I might not cry out. While beating, they cursed me, “Who knows how many times you slept with your teacher. Tell us what his name is.” I said, “I do not know. I do not know.” And they said, “You lost your virginity to your teacher. Don’t you even know his name?” They purposely beat my chest and lower body. My shirt was unbuttoned by them, with my breasts exposed. And they said, “If you don’t confess, we will rip off all your clothes. We will either rape you or torture you to see whether or not you will confess.”

With my breasts totally exposed to three men, I felt my dignity was greatly humiliated. I was really afraid that they might rip off all my clothes. For the sake of dignity, I gave in, telling them tearfully, “I confess. I confess.” Then they stopped beating me, removed my handcuffs and chains, and handed me some a wet towel and some detergents for me to wipe off the blood on my chest and clothes. And they also gave me some medicine to treat my bruised lips and chest. They said, “If you confessed earlier, we would not beat you like this.” So the interrogation continued. And I was asked to tell them when and where I was raped by my teacher. In order to avoid inhumane torture and humiliation, I had to make up a story to meet their needs. And I told them, “The time is August 15, 1999, third day after I graduated from my theological training. And it happened in Zhongxiang.” As a matter of fact, I came to Hubei Province on September 6, 1999. On August 15, 1999, I was still in Yulu. How come did it happen in Zhongxiang? Liu Xianzhi, who is still in prison, may serve as a witness. She and I, along with two other unknown sisters, came to Hubei on September 6, 1999.

Then they asked me who introduced me to my teacher. I said, “It is Junjian, my theological instructor.” In fact, after the theological training, the instructor left. How come did he bring me to Pastor Gong?

And they asked me to describe how it happened. I said, “I am a seminarian who just graduated, and came to the south from the north. My teacher cared about me, and chatted with me, asking me whether I am used to the life and customs here. Then he took me to the second floor, telling me a lot about his evangelistic activities, and asking me whether I was willing to be his coworker. After hearing my positive answer, he said, ‘Ok, let’s cross our fingers to seal your commitment.’ And I did that. Then he took the liberty putting me in the bed, and raped me.” And they asked me whether I felt any pains in my lower body, and whether I bled. For I was in great fear at that time, I nodded to all their questions, no matter what they were, and whether they were true. Facing three cruel officers, I dared not to say no. And they asked me what happened next. I said, “My teacher left. And I felt asleep.” They asked me, “Why didn’t you report to the police?” And I said, “For I was young, being along in a strange place, I dared not to do that.” And they asked, “Did your teacher contact you later?” I said, “Half a month later, he came back, asking me about my feeling. And I told me, ‘I am desperate, and want to go home.’ I cried, and he helped me wipe off my tears. I saw him crying also. Realizing I did not want to approach him any more, he left.” (Actually they asked a lot of detailed questions about this subject during the first interrogation. For I was extremely afraid, I did not remember all their questions and my answers. Several days after I was released, I lived in fear and confusion. I may say I even did not know what I had told them.

After finishing questioning me, they asked me to jot down my signature. And they also asked me to write two copies of “confessions”, which I also signed. One was about my life experience, and the other about the so-called “teacher-student love”.

Recently they asked me to write a lawsuit statement. I did not know how. And they taught me to do it. My conscience told me I could not do that. However, I had no freedom to say no to them. I was afraid they stared at me evilly. And I was afraid they might beat me again. So I wrote that statement. But I think it is them who taught me to set up a good man. The statement goes like this: I am Tong Cuijuan, aged 18…The time, place and situation that I was raped…I ask the police to give my teacher due punishment according to what he has done to me. Finally, I signed my name, and put down my fingerprint on the statement.

After all these things were done, it was already 10 O’clock at night. They treated me extremely well. They peeled pears for me, and asked me to take some back to my cell. And they let me comb my hairs. Due to their pulling, a lot of hairs fell. Before I went back to my cell, they told me, “Do not tell others what we have asked you, and what you have answered. In addition, if you want to add more information, please contact us.”

They transferred me from No. 4 cell to No. 35. One hour later, another sister was locked in this cell. She, named Chi Tongyuan, was the one whom was beaten next door while I was being interrogated. There were wounds caused by the electric prod all over her body. She told me they hit her chest with the electric prod, asking her to confess. However, when she agreed to confess, a fat police office told her, “You want to confess. But I don’t want to give you chance. I just want to torture you today.” Therefore, she was beaten seriously.

At midnight, August 18, another sister named Zhang Hongjuan was sent in. The police forced the electric prod into her mouth, beat her with the prod, and pushed her head down into a basin full of water. For she struggled, the water was spilled over the ground. Then they poured more water into a pool, and let her head flood. And they also cuffed her hands backwards, and put some bricks on the cuffs. She was tortured for about 17 hours.

Another sister named Li Li was tortured one day. For she refused to admit she had sexual relationship with Pastor Gong, she was almost beaten to death.

Seeing all these, we could not help crying out, “What laws have we violated? Why do we have to suffer these inhumane tortures and humiliations?”

Several days later, I was interrogated the second time. It was about excommunication issue. They suspected I was involved. And I was taken to Shayang for interrogation. On the way to Shayang, two officers harassed me. The older officer put his arm around my shoulder, and touched my face with his hand. Since I had been sitting in the cell for a long period of time, having not chance to be exposed to the sunshine, I vomited. They asked me with evil expression, “Are you pregnant?” And they said many other flirting words. After further investigation and interrogation, they found out I was not the one they were hunting. On August 28, I was taken back to Zhongxiang.

As for the third interrogation, only one officer named Xu was present. However, on the record he wrote two names. This interrogation was mainly about “teacher-student love”. I repeated what I had told them during the first interrogation. When he asked me whether I was beaten, I said yes. But he jotted down “No”. I asked him why he wrote this way, he said, “If we did not beat you, would you confess? Actually they beat you so slightly. If I were them, I would beat you until your skin was broken, and your muscle exposed.” Oh, God, are they law enforcement officers? They are indeed law violators. Who can give me chance to tell the truth?

On August 29, Ren Haihua, Cui Guilian, Liu Zhongju, Wang Lan, Zhang Hongjuan, and Song Fanju were released, while Wang Lier, Chi Faling, Li Li and I were still being detained.

Within the next one and a half month, Liu Congzheng, official from the Religious Affairs Section of the Public Security Bureau of Zhongxiang, interrogated me twice to confirm the sexual relationships between me and my teacher. He asked me whether there were foreplays before sex. I told him, “I don’t know.” And he laughed at me, saying, “How come you don’t know?” In the course of the interrogations, he asked me several similar questions.

On October 13, two prosecutors from Jingmen interrogated me to confirm “teacher-student love” again. On the record he wrote many things I did not mention at all. Actually the record was made at their will to serve their purpose. After the interrogation, several police officers from the PSB of Zhongxiang came to video me, asking me to repeat what I had confessed. And they said they detained me so long for this crucial moment, and I might go home the next day. They asked me to face the camera, confessing when, where and how I was raped by my teacher. I knew I could not do this. However, due to great fear I gave in. In the beginning, I did not use the word “rape”. But one officer specifically asked me to add it.

I really don’t understand how come they do this. As law enforcement officers, they have profaned the dignity of the law and the holy duty of the people’s police, and stained the state image.

I hereby seriously declare, what I have said and written during detention, including my signature, fingerprints, and video, are all out of coerced confession, extreme fear, lack of freedom, spiritual and physical torture.