Chinese Christian Lawyer Tortured by Prison Guards: 'Faith Prevented Me from Committing Suicide'

( [email protected] ) Jun 01, 2017 02:29 PM EDT
A Christian lawyer imprisoned in China has revealed that the torture he endured at the hands of prison guards was so severe, he wanted to commit suicide - but resisted because of his faith.
China is one of the worst persecutors of Christians, according to Open Doors USA. Reuters

A Christian lawyer imprisoned in China has revealed that the torture he endured at the hands of prison guards was so severe, he wanted to commit suicide - but resisted because of his faith.

Speaking to The Wall Street Journal on Monday, Bob Fu, president of China Aid, revealed that his friend, Li Heping, was tortured within an inch of his life after being incarcerated for speaking out against human rights abuses in China.

"There were times that I wanted to commit suicide. I survived because of my Christian faith, the courageous advocacy of my wife and the attention of the international community," Li said, according to Fu.

Fu says that Li suffered "sadistic torture" at the hands of Communist Party authorities, including confinement in frigid cells, beatings, electric shocks, sleep deprivation and being chained in stress positions.

Even worse, the Christian lawyer was drugged with unknown substances after being "diagnosed" with high blood pressure and forced to take six pills a day for nearly two years.

As reported,  Li vanished into police custody in 2015  as part of a nationwide round-up of human rights lawyers. He was formally arrested on Jan. 20, 2016, on suspicion of "subverting state power" and is incarcerated at the Tianjin Municipal Detention Center No.1.

According to The Guardian, a Chinese security agent once told Li that in the eyes of Beijing, he had become "more dangerous than Bin Laden".

Li was released earlier this month after almost two years languishing behind bars. Photographs and a brief video clip posted online showed the Christian attorney being reunited with his wife and daughter, Wang Qiaoling and Li Jiamei, at their family home in Beijing.

Terry Halliday, the author of a book on China's human rights lawyers, told The Guardian she was "disturbed" by how sickly Li looked upon his release.

"[He looked] very thin. He's aged about 20 years. His hair has gone grey. He's gone through a torturous time, I would say," Halliday said. "I would defy anybody ... to imagine that so much transformation could have occurred over two years."

"The only thing that I recognized was his smile: that wonderful smile of his that has always been a reflection of his warmth and his kindness."

Speaking to the Journal, Fu said Chinese president Xi Jinping has "sought to eviscerate China's network of human rights lawyers and rights advocates, viewing their peaceful efforts at legal reform as a national-security threat."

"Mr. Xi has re-instituted the Maoist practice of televised public confession and embraced a system of torture so horrific it demands an international response," the China Aid founder added.

Fu said U.S. President Donald Trump has done far more than Barack Obama in fighting for human rights in China, such as authorizing the rescue of the wife and two daughters of another lawyer, Xie Yang, in an escape to Thailand in February.

But while such efforts are noteworthy, a number of other lawyers and pastors remain "in jail and are in danger of horrific torture," Fu said.

"We cannot forget them. Silence may equal their death," he warned.

As earlier reported, Li's younger brother, Li Chunfu, Christian human rights lawyer who was recently released by government authorities after being detained for 18 months in a jail cell, is suffering from severe psychological and physical trauma. Since returning home, he was shown signs of schizophrenia and was reportedly drugged and tortured by prison guards during his incarceration.

"Last night he was saying that he felt like insects were biting his body inside, that his heart had been eaten away by bugs bit by bit, and there wasn't much of it left," Li's wife said about her husband's mental state.

The report added: "Li Chunfu is still in a state of terror and confusion. When he saw his wife making a phone call, he shot his arm out and gripped her tight around the neck, growling: 'Who are you calling?! You want to harm me!'"

Tags : China, China Aid, Bob Fu, persecution in China, Li Heping, Suicide, prison