My name is Jia Jianying. My husband He Depu was taken away by the Beijing police on the night of the 4th of November 2002. He was taken because he tried to participate in local elections for the People’s Congress, because he frequently published articles on the internet, and because he often helped his Christian bretheren. The Chinese government him of ‘trying to overthrow the state’, and sent him to prison for eight years. He is now held in Beijing No.2 Prison.
In prison husband has been beaten twice while in prison, and his left ear was so badly hurt that he is now deaf on that side. In order to break his will, my husband was subjected by the government to 85 straight days of torture. During the 85 days, he was tied to a wooden board and his hands and feet were held down by four policemen. He was not able to move. If he moved at all, he was beaten by the police. In the freezing winter (between November and February) they only permitted him to wear a pair of underpants. His weight dropped from 80kg to 60kg. In 2005 the United Nations special raporteur on torture, Manfred Novak, went to the prison to investigate this affair.
Because of my husband’s imprisonment, our only son has also suffered. On the 4th of November 2002, when police broke into our home and handcuffed my husband, they did so in font of our son. For the next six months, he did not speak, and just sat in silence. The police went to his school. His teacher told me that He Jia (our son) did not speak in class, but sat there silently. He did not interact with his classmates at all, and his grades fell.
Because I have continuously called for the government to release my husband, the police have put a sentry box at the door to our house. Policemen and police cars stand guard outside our house for about one third of the year. During this year’s Spring Festival (a time of family reunion) the police watched my house 24 hours a day. The police told me our friends were not permitted to come and visit me and my family.
For several years, our neighbours have been too frightened to have any contact with us. No children dare have any contact with my son, and he remains lonely, at home by himself. I am very worried that if my son continues to live like this, he could be harmed psychologically, and may not be able to live a healthy life. As a mother, seeing my child suffer because of what his parents have done, I feel extremely anxious and very sad. But there is nothing to be done.
In my days of suffering, I have met with brothers and sisters who have helped me to know Our Father. They have given me warmth, and help. Thank the Lord!
As a mother, I hope that my son will also receive God’s help, and will do the Lord’s work. I hope that you can help me, and help send my son to a seminary, where he will be able to study in a peaceful environment, not live his life in terror, and be happy like other children, with friends and the right to live a normal life.
This is the greatest wish of a mother. Please help this wife of a political prisoner.
He Depu’s wife – Jia Jianying
Please pray for us
7 May 2007
In 2000, in Anshan in China’s Northeastern province of Liaoning, a group of Christians met regularly to hold service and to study the bible. The local police said that they were an evil cult, and used violence to try to force them to confess. Some of the group were sentenced to ‘reeducation through labout’ (a form of prison without trial), and others were fined.
One of the group testified in a letter that a brother, Hou Songshan, aged 51, had been cruelly punished. From 2pm on the 11th of November, when his interrogation started, his punishment also began. Ma Yi (a policeman) and others used a strip of bamboo over one metre in length and around 3cm wide to beat him on the back. It is impossible to calculate the force and frequency with which Mr Hou was beaten, but two of the strips of bamboo that were used broke into pieces. How can a man’s back stand this kind of beating? For half a month following the beating Mr Hou could not sit up out of bed. He was exhausted. He was only permitted to squat on the floor, and not allowed to sit down, or rest against anything. A spotlight was put in front of him, and it burnt Mr Hou’s eyes. When he raised his head to avoid the heat, Ma Yi and others used a bamboo strip to beat him about the head. Both his knees were burnt, and for or five large blisters appeared, each about 2cm across (which have left scars), until he went into shock.
In the bible it says: ‘and if one member suffer any thing, all the members suffer with it: or if one member glory, all the members rejoice with it’ (Corinthians 1, 12:26). Based on the testimony of our bretheren in court, we wrote an article titled ‘our understanding of the truth regarding the Li Baozhi “evil cult” case in Anshan, Liaoning Province.’ The article was published in the American Chinese Christian Association’s magazine.
Because I wrote the article, in 2003 I was sentenced to two years in prison. I also spent two months in a detention centre. I was deprived of my political rights for two years. In prison, I suffered many hardships. For the first ten days, I was not permitted to sleep. Three teams of people took turns to interrogate me. Because I went for so long without sleep, I began to have hallucinations. Some times I was so tired that I would fall asleep while sitting up, and when that happened they would hit me and pour cold water inside my clothes. When they transported me from Beijing to Zhejiang, on board the train they handcuffed me to the leg of a table. I was unable to stand, to sit, or to lie down. I was only able to crouch, and did so for twenty straight hours. In the face of this, I did not let go of my faith. Instead, my faith was made stronger.
We suffered many hardships while in prison, but outside prison our families suffered much worse hardship. After I was detained, the police forced our landlord to evict my wife, Li Shanna. For over half a year, Li Shanna had no home to return to. During the day she went to work, and at night she walked the streets. After I had been detained for over a year, Li Shanna wanted to visit me in prison, but her work unit would not let her go, and forced her to resign. Later, with the help of friends, Li Shanna found a part time job as a nurse with a very low salary (around 100 US dollars a month). My wife’s life was extremely difficult. She worried about me while I was in prison, was anxious that I wasn’t getting enough to eat, and often sent me money. Because of these difficulties, sometimes her faith became weak. Sometimes she said to God ‘we have suffered for the Lord, gone to prison. Why can’t the Lord see our sufferings?’ But she did not lose her faith, and continued to trust in God.
When I left prison, our brothers and sisters had not forgotten us. They prayed for us, and our case was written about in the United States’ Human Rights Report and the Religious Freedom Report. After I came out of prison the government constructed a building outside my front door, and installed two cameras. Every day, 24 hours a day, we are watched. Often they won’t let us leave our house. Now we are asking our fellow Christians to continue their prayers for us, to strengthen our belief. We need Jesus Christ, China needs Jesus Christ. I hope that my wife Li Shanna can be trained in theology, so that she can strengthen her reliance on God, and do better work for the Lord in future. Please pray for this.