Gong Shengliang, a pastor supervising the 100,000-member South China Church, has been imprisoned in China since 2001 and suffering from lack of medical treatment after a stroke. The pastor’s daughter confirmed on July 3 that her father’s health is “rapidly deteriorating” and may die due to a lack of medical care.
When Gong was arrested together with four other church leaders in 2001 in Hubei Province, they were convicted and sentenced to death under China’s anti-cult legislation. Morning Star News reported that the death sentences were withdrew after international protest and, in October 2002, he was sentenced to life for rape after “police tortured female members of his church into testifying that he had raped them.”
07/03/2014 CHINA (BosNewsLife)– The health of the jailed founder of one of China’s largest evangelical house-church denominations is “rapidly deteriorating” and he may die due to a lack of medical care, his daughter and other Christians confirmed Thursday, July 3.
Pastor Gong Shengliang, who supervises the 100,000- member South China Church (SCC) in several provinces, reportedly suffers of ailments linked to high blood pressure and ‘cerebral infraction’, an ischemic stroke resulting from a blockage in blood vessels supplying blood to the brain.
“But prison authorities have refused to allow a proper medical checkup and adequate treatments,” said the pastor’s daughter Huali Gong in a statement obtained by BosNewsLife.
“Consequently, my father’s illness got worse and worse,” she added. “More than once my father almost fell to the ground” for instance in November, Huali explained.
Health troubles are the latest setback for the pastor, who has been detained in Hubei province since December 2001, when he and four fellow SCC church leaders were convicted and sentenced to death under China’s anti-cult legislation. Eleven other SCC officials received life imprisonment.
Amid international pressure, China dropped the controversial charges of “using a cult to undermine law enforcement” overturning the death sentences and releasing some pastors.
However after a re-trial Gong and the four other Christian leaders initially sentenced to death, Xu Fuming, Hu Yong, Gong Bangkun, and Li Ying, received long prison terms, ranging from 15 years to life imprisonment for “intentional assault”.
Gong was also convicted of “rape”, but his sentence was commuted in 2006 to 19 years in prison.
Christians have linked the alleged trumped-up charges to his work as an effective evangelical leader in the Communist-run Asian nation. His long time in Hubei’s notorious Hankou Prison has added to health concerns, suggested Huali.
While behind bars, the 62-year-old pastor already suffered a stroke that left him paralyzed on the left side, unable to speak and drooling from his mouth, according to Christians with close knowledge about the situation.
“When he got a checkup on November 26 2013, the doctor said my father’s illness was very serious. He was having cerebral infraction, and related symptoms known as encephalatrophy, brain lesions and leukoaraiosis, etc,” Huali added.