Imprisoned Chinese Church Leader Paralyzed, Request for Medical Parole Rejected
ICC Note: In an apparently deadly move by Chinese authorities, prison officials have refused to allow Pastor Gong Shengliang to obtain medical assistance despite the fact that he has suffered a stroke and is barely able to move or speak. The pastor was arrested back in 2001 in a large arrest of several South China church leaders.
12/14/2012 China (ChinaAid) – The founder of the South China Church, serving a 19-year prison sentence, has suffered a stroke that has left him paralyzed and unable to speak, but prison officials have refused the family’s request to release Gong Shengliang on medical parole.
ChinaAid received an urgent appeal letter Thursday evening from Gong’s family in which they detailed Gong’s condition and their efforts to secure his release on medical parole. (The full text of the family’s letter and medical parole petition is provided below.)
Gong, who is in his 60s, suffered a stroke at 8 p.m. on Dec. 2 that left him paralyzed on the left side, unable to speak and drooling from his mouth. It was not until the next afternoon that Gong was taken to a hospital to be treated and to confirm that he had suffered a stroke. He was then transferred to the Wuhan municipal prison. Family members were not notified of these developments until Dec. 7, whereupon they immediately asked to go see him. The prison said that a visit could not be arranged until Monday Dec. 10.
At that meeting, Gong needed the assistance of two people, one on each side to hold him up, in order to enter the visitors room. When they seated him, he was unable to sit upright and kept sliding off the chair. He was also drooling and unable to speak.
The next day, the family submitted a request for Gong to be released on medical parole, but was told that his condition did not meet the requirements for medical parole. Gong’s family had requested medical parole on previous occasions as his health over the years has declined, but had been rejected each time. His two daughters have also been refused permission to visit their father.
“We ask brothers and sisters from churches everywhere to extend a helping hand to our teacher Gong Shenliang, whose life is at stake, to pray for him…and pay attention (to his case), so that he can be released on medical parole as soon as possible and receive timely treatment,” the family said in the appeal letter received by ChinaAid.