A persecution watchdog group monitoring the human rights abuses suffered by Christians and others under the regime of Chinese President Xi Jinping has shared details about some of the atrocities a Christian lawyer suffered in prison.
Bob Fu, the founder and president of China Aid, recalled the words of his friend, Li Heping, in an article in The Wall Street Journal on Monday:
"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."
Fu says that Li suffered "sadistic torture" at the hands of Communist Party authorities for daring to speak out against human rights abuses in China. Li was arrested alongside 250 other lawyers on July 9, 2015, as part of a major crackdown ordered by Chinese officials, and is known as the 709 Crackdown.
The lawyers endured confinement in frigid cells, beatings, electric shocks, sleep deprivation and being chained in stress positions.
Li explained that he was drugged with unknown substances after being "diagnosed" with high blood pressure and forced to take six pills a day for nearly two years.
Fu argued that Xi 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.
He noted that several other lawyers have also come forward detailing the abuses they suffered, such as Li Chinfu, who has since been diagnosed with schizophrenia after he was forcibly medicated.
Fu said U.S. President Donald Trump has been doing more than his predecessor, 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.
Fu insisted that while some have been rescued, other lawyers remain "in jail and are in danger of horrific torture. We cannot forget them. Silence may equal their death."
As many as 100 million people, including Protestant Christians, are facing "high" or "very high" levels of persecution in China, a major report by Freedom House stated back in March.
The atheistic government has been cracking down not only on lawyers, but Christians and believers of all kinds, as it sees religion, especially denominations not sponsored by the government, as a threat to its authority.
Fu told The Chritian Post in previous interviews that Xi might make attempts at diplomacy with Western leaders, including major religious heads such as the Vatican's Pope Francis, but argued that should not deceive people into thinking the government is softening its stance against believers.
"China might be seeking to make a united front with the pope and the Vatican in order to appear as if it is respecting Christianity to the international society, when, in reality, the religion is still oppressed," Fu told CP in March.
"Therefore, one of the benefits China could glean from pursuing a relationship with the Vatican is that of an improved — and false — public image, both domestically and internationally."