Severely ill pastor improving

Monday, May 15, 2017

Pastor Yang Hua
(Photo: ChinaAid)
(Guiyang, Guizhou—May 15, 2017) An imprisoned pastor who developed a critical medical condition while in custody in China’s southern Guizhou province is improving after he was temporarily transferred to a new prison, his wife said on May 3.

Li Guozhi, better known as his alias, Yang Hua, developed a severe form of vasculitis after doctors working in his detention center improperly treated ulcers that materialized on his legs, rendering him unable to walk. He was admitted to the hospital, where physicians notified his wife, Wang Hongwu, that he was critically ill. She was allowed to visit him, and they had their first in-person conversation since he was taken into custody on Dec. 9, 2015.

Because of his illness, authorities temporarily relocated to another prison, where Wang says he has been allowed to heal: “I visited Yang Hua in prison yesterday [May 2]. Although he had to ask another prisoner to carry him to the conference room, his condition is getting better. We talked for 20 minutes. I asked him to show me his feet, and I was glad to see that the measles on his shin bones disappeared, the festers became scabs, and the old scabs healed … Yang Hua told me that one of his legs was functioning, while another was still too weak to support him. The prison does not have his medications, although he still lives in the medical ward. He was transferred from the Baiyun Prison to the Kaili Prison on the 16th [of April]. The family members, strictly speaking, only my son and I, could visit him once a month. Not even his brother was allowed to visit him. The prison permits him to call me once a month for no more than ten minutes.”

Yang was originally taken into police custody on Dec. 9, 2015, for trying to prevent officials from confiscating a church hard drive. He spent 10 days in administrative detention for “the crime of obstructing justice” and “gathering a crowd to disturb public order” before being charged with “illegally possessing state secrets” and being transferred to criminal detention. He was arrested on Jan. 22, 2016, and his charge changed a fourth time to “divulging state secrets.” During the time leading up to his trial, which was held on Dec. 26, 2016, he was repeatedly tortured by his prosecutors. On Jan. 5, a Guiyang court sentenced him to two-and-a-half years in prison.

ChinaAid celebrates Yang’s recovery as a part of our ongoing efforts to encourage Christians persecuted for their faith and exposes abuses enacted against him in order to promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.

ChinaAid Media Team
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