Liu Zhenying fell to the floor convulsing, his frail body coursing with electricity. Prison guards, electric-shock batons in hand, stepped back unashamedly as he lost consciousness.
Inside Nanyang Prison, located in China’s Henan Province, 25-year-old Liu was beginning the 75th day of his fast from both food and water. Although he was 5 feet 5 inches, he weighed less than 70 pounds and had to be carried to a room where officials had arranged for his family to see him. The Public Security Bureau (PSB), China’s secret police, was hoping Liu’s wife and mother would convince him to renounce his “superstitious” beliefs and reveal the identities and locations of his unregistered house-church contacts.