House church pastor in grave condition, wife writes letter

Yang Hua
(Photo: China Aid)

China Aid

(Guiyang, Guizhou—March 28, 2017) A church pastor incarcerated in China’s southern Guizhou province was admitted to the hospital in serious condition Friday.

Wang Hongwu unexpectedly witnessed three detainees carrying her husband, imprisoned house church pastor Yang Hua, out of a vehicle on March 20, when she was accompanying his lawyer to meet with him. He had just returned from the hospital, and she said that he was doubled over and shrieking in pain. His lawyer later reported he appeared nearly paralyzed.

Three days before the meeting, inflamed ulcers appeared on Yang’s legs and spread rapidly, robbing him of the ability to sleep. The doctors at the detention center initially told him that they were pus sores and only gave him painkillers, the lack of treatment allowing the disease to spread.

On the afternoon of March 23, a prosecutor from the Nanming District Court informed Yang’s lawyers of his condition and advised them to apply for measures that would allow Yang to receive treatment at another hospital to avoid further complications.

Yang was sent to the hospital on March 24, where he was diagnosed with anaphylactoid purpura, a condition that targets blood vessels in the kidneys, intestines, joints, and skin. The doctor Wang consulted also said she should be aware of the possibility of several side effects, including septicemia, digestive tract hemorrhaging, and kidney damage. She was informed that Yang is in grave condition, and she penned a letter calling out for urgent prayer on his behalf, which can be read below.

As result, his lawyers wrote to the local procuratorate, questioning whether it was necessary to keep Yang in detention and requesting that he be released on medical bail. According to an article written by China Change, the judge in charge of the case must be consulted for that decision.

Yang, also known under his legal name Li Guozhi, was initially incarcerated on Dec. 9, 2015, when police took him into custody after resisting officials’ attempts to destroy a church hard drive. He was initially charged with “the crime of obstructing justice” and “gathering a crowd to disturb public order” and handed two consecutive, five-day administrative detention sentences; however, when Wang came to collect him on Dec. 20, 2015, she saw him wearing a hood and being forced into an unlicensed vehicle. Upon inquiry, she learned that he was transferred to criminal detention on the charge of “illegally possessing state secrets.”

On Jan. 22, 2016, the procuratorate formalized Yang’s arrest, and his charge was changed to “divulging state secrets.”

For more than a year, authorities held Yang without trial, subjecting him to torture and threatening his family members, both of which were carried out by the prosecutors assigned to his case. His requests that the prosecutors be excluded from his trial were ignored. He was tried on Dec. 26, and, in an act described by China Aid president Bob Fu as “nothing but purely barbaric religious persecution,” sentenced to two years and six months in prison on Jan. 5.

China Aid reports abuses, such as those experienced by Yang Hua, in order to stand in solidarity with persecuted Christians and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.

Letter for Prayers of Intercession

Thanks to our gracious Lord, I could meet with Yang Hua on March 24. I was accompanying the lawyer who would soon visit him at the detention center, but I ran into him right in front of the gate of the institution. He had just returned from the provincial hospital. It was the first time we had met in the span of one year, three months, and 15 days. Yang Hua descended slowly from the patrol vehicle with the help of another prisoner. His already hunched back arched even more because of leg pain. We only had time to exchange a few words before he was brought back into the detention center. After conversing with Yang Hua (I had to wait outside during their meeting), the lawyer informed me that Yang Hua would be transferred to the Guiyang 368 Armed Police Hospital and receive treatment, and that I could go see him one more time. Running toward him, I heard the officer yelling “Who is Li Guozhi’s family member?” I answered him, got in the patrol vehicle, and arrived at the Guiyang 368 Armed Police Hospital.

The chief physician told me about Yang Hua’s condition, that the provincial hospital diagnosed him with anaphylactoid purpura. I noticed that Yang Hua’s lower limbs were covered with measles and necrotic dots. His shinbones were full of huge patches of necrosis and effusion, and his feet and ankles were swollen. The doctor also told me that Yang Hua would receive a large amount of hormonal therapy and anti-inflammatory treatments, because the disease was ferocious and deteriorated in only eight days. The hospital delivered a notice of critical condition and told me to be aware of a series of possible side effects: septicemia, alimentary tract hemorrhaging, and kidney damage.

My heart stirred after hearing all of these things. I developed more worries and concerns.

During our brief reunion, Yang Hua told me, “Don’t worry. God is pulling the strings. I am at peace. We haven’t seen each other in a year and three months, but you haven’t changed at all.”

I smiled and answered him, “You haven’t changed either, except that your back is more hunched.”

Thank the Lord for alleviating my sorrows and putting peace in my heart. Although I had not seen Yang Hua for more than a year (we were never parted for more than two months before he was arrested), it all felt like yesterday when he was standing in front of me. No tears. No hysteria. We looked deeply at each other in divine serenity. Although worried, I could still face Yang Hua with joy and tranquility with God’s support.

When we were about to separate, Yang Hua said, “Don’t forget to tell the brothers and sisters to pray for me.”

I answered, “Of course.”

He was again taken away before my eyes.

Lord, I will entrust him to you. From now on, you will be the only one accompanying him, I prayed in my heart.

God’s servant: Wang Hongwu
March 25

ChinaAid Media Team
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