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Review of Seventeen? The Hell You Are!—A Teenage Christian’s Growth in Adversity

By Chenhui, Finland

Seventeen? The Hell You Are! PosterPeople all say that the teenage years are the most glorious and purest time in one’s life, but what I can’t understand is that the hero, Gao Liang actually spends his most beautiful time in prison. Maybe you will wonder what has happened to him, and then let’s enter this movie to know about his story.

Gao Liang is a Christian. When he was eight years old, he started to believe in God with his parents. After he attended school, many of his classmates were all addicted to online games and pursued the evil worldly trends, and thus became increasingly depraved and degenerate, but instead he could keep away from the evil trends because of God’s protection. When he was 17 years old, he began to practice preaching the gospel. His parents often say to him: Our country is ruled by the CCP, an atheistic party, and they don’t allow us to believe in God, so you must be careful when preaching the gospel. Yet the innocent boy doesn’t take it seriously. He thinks that he is only a teenager. Even though he is arrested, the police will not do anything to him. However, his thinking on this really is too naïve.

A Sudden Arrest

On the way home after preaching the gospel, Gao Liang is happily talking about his harvest in this period with Uncle Liu (Liu Cheng, an old Christian). Suddenly, a group of police surround and arrest them. When Gao Liang cries out, “We believers don’t break the law, and why do you arrest us? I’m only 17 and I still have to go to school—” Before he could finish, a fat policeman gives him a vicious kick instead of doing as the law prescribes. In this way, the seventeen-year-old boy is arrested by the police for his belief in God. On three successive days and nights, they not only don’t let him eat anything or sleep, but they interrogate him by cruel tortures and even shock him on his chin, hands and penis with the electric baton. What’s more, in order to force him to betray God, betray the church leader and the church’s money, they threaten to let the school expel him and to arrest his parents. Faced with the extremely brutal torture of the CCP, Gao Liang is very strong and brave, which is different from his peers. As often as I see him gnash his teeth and firmly close his eyes to face the CCP’s torments, I feel very sorry for the boy, and meanwhile, I am bitterly disappointed with the atheistic government. Eventually, because the CCP doesn’t get any information from Gao Liang, they actually sentence him to one year of reform through labor. With regard to the reality anyone can’t accept, the fat policeman tells Gao Liang the reason, “Although you told us nothing, we still sentence you! This is the CCP’s land. The CCP has the final word. We can sentence you at will, and you must accept this!” Is this not openly trampling on the law? No wonder the CCP is called “Communist bandit” (pinyin: gòngfěi) all along.

The Days in the Labor Camp

For a child, one year of reeducation through labor is really long, so he feels pained and desperate. Since he was arrested, Liu Cheng and he have depended on each other for survival all the time. Each time he feels weak and negative, Liu Cheng will recite and fellowship about God’s word to him to help him go through the bitter situation. However, afterward, Liu Cheng has a heart attack because of the police’s beatings. Because the police are afraid of taking the blame for his death in prison, they ask his family to pay 50,000 yuan in bond money and release him. Now, Gao Liang has to face all the pain ahead by himself. He feels desperate and helpless. At night, he, huddling up and crying in a corner of the bed, doesn’t know how to spend these miserable days. Then, God’s words enlighten him in time, and he understands that God’s will is to temper him through sufferings. The story of Joseph in the Old Testament greatly inspires him and gives him determination and courage to firmly follow God by praying to and relying on God in all things, no matter how harsh the circumstance is.

Seventeen? The Hell You Are! film still

Though there are not many shots about Gao Liang’s life in prison, accompanied by a hymn of experience “All the Way in Your Company,” his painful life has been depicted. He lives in prison for a year as if living in the hell hole. However, from the words he writes about his experience, it can be seen that God always accompanies and guides him. So he is able to face up to all these things: the police threatening him and forcing him to sign a guarantee of giving up his belief, the heavy physical labor and the wanton torments of the police. Especially the exhausting physical labor bows down his back, but he looks still firm; even when he is held in confinement, he is no longer afraid and lonely, but always prays to God and relies on God. In adversity he instead sees God’s guidance and supply at any time and any place, sees God’s hand, and thus starts to truly believe in and rely on God. With the song over, Gao Liang’s dark prison life is also over. He walks out of the prison calmly. When he says, “Oh, God! I thank you,” his eyes moisten again. The CCP had intended to destroy the boy who is only 17 by one year of reeducation through labor, but unexpectedly, under God’s guidance, he is tempered and trained by the harsh environment and is grown from the inside out. What he harvests is his belief in God, his understanding of God and his real reliance on God, and all these things can’t be obtained in an easy environment.

After one year’s life in the dark prison, Gao Liang has changed a lot. He has grown more mature in life and he is no longer a naive and ignorant boy, but has been transformed into a good soldier of Christ who can care for and comfort God’s heart. Although the time in prison is full of bitterness and tears, it is the dearest gift in his life and he has obtained much from it. Though he is in jail, God never leaves him and always accompanies him. When the teenagers of his age are still enjoying their life to the full and even squandering their youth, he has experienced a baptism of life. Just as what he says, “This tribulation and trial is a precious source of wealth in my growth in life and is a special gift that God bestows upon me at my age of 17.” After going through that year, his life will radiate the unusual vigor of youth.

The movie “Seventeen? The Hell You Are!” tells a true story of the CCP’s persecuting a teenage Christian. The film is shot in documentary style, and many scenes are filmed in a realistic tone and the images are shot under the dark light environment, bringing the evil acts that the CCP has committed in the darkness on screen and making many people who are deceived understand the truth. If you want to understand the belief conditions of Chinese Christians, then this movie will be a good choice.

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