CBN News: Chinese Pastor Tortured in Prison Breaks into Song After Release

George Thomas

A Chinese pastor who was reportedly tortured while in prison is now a free man.

Yang Hua was released Tuesday from a Chinese prison after spending nearly two-and-half years incarcerated on trumped up charges.

According to his wife, Wang Hongwu, Yang broke out into loud worship songs after his release.

“Even though my husband experienced misfortune, his belief remains resolute,” Wang told ChinaAid.

Courtesy: ChinaAid

In December 2015, Pastor Li Guozhi, also known as Yang Hua, was taken into custody by authorities after a raid on his church in central Guizhou Province.

Chinese authorities accused him of “illegally possessing state secrets” and collecting “illegal” donations from his church.

“While we welcome the release of Pastor Yang Hua, we reiterate our belief that he should never have been convicted and sentenced in the first place,” Mervyn Thomas, with the UK-based Christian Solidarity Worldwide, said in a statement.

Yang was the leader of Living Stone Church, a large underground church in China’s Guizhou Province. Hua, and another leader, pastor Su Tianfu, were accused of “intentionally divulging state secrets” and subsequently arrested.

Thomas says the false charges levied against the Christian pastors are simply part of the government’s strategy to stop the spread of the gospel.

“Pastor Yang Hua and Pastor Su Tianfu have been targeted for their leadership of Living Stone Church, an independent church which engaged in peaceful religious activities, served their community, and supported needy members of the congregation,” Thomas argued.

“We are extremely concerned by the authorities’ oppression of independent religious communities in China, in particular the use of arbitrary detention and torture to pressure religious leaders to stop their activities,” he added.

ChinaAid, a human rights group that documents religious freedom abuses in China, says Yang was repeatedly tortured while in prison and was refused medical care.

“While in prison, Yang contracted vasculitis and had to be hospitalized after inadequate prison medical care rendered him unable to walk,” ChinaAid said in a statement. “He was temporarily transferred to another detention center and allowed to recuperate. He also contracted diabetes.”

Persecution of Christians in China has seen a dramatic increase in recent months. Bob Fu, founder and president of ChinaAid, says the number of people arrested for their faith “has reached the highest level since the end of the Cultural Revolution.”

“For Christians alone, last year we documented persecution against 1,265 churches, with the number of people persecuted over 223,000. And that is just the tip of the iceberg,” Mr. Fu said. “In 2016, there were 762 cases of persecution, according to our documentation, with the number of people persecuted 48,000. It really is almost five times {as much}.”

China watchers say that restrictions on religious freedom have especially increased since China’s president Xi Jinping took power.

“Unfortunately, the space for practicing faith seems to be closing in China,” said Olivia Enos, a policy analyst with the Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy. “It seems to be closing in China as president Xi Jingping continues his consolidation of power.”

In early April, authorities in Henan province tore down crosses atop several churches after claims that the structures themselves were built illegally.

The cross destructions came shortly after a government order that forced online retailers to stop selling the Bible.

ChinaAid Media Team
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