|Hu Shigen (center) being baptized. This photo was used as evidence
against him at his trial.
(Tianjin—Dec. 21, 2020) Tianjin authorities have finally begun the process of releasing imprisoned church elder Hu Shigen on medical parole.
Hu entered police custody in July 2015 and was charged with inciting subversion of state power. The government held his trial on Aug. 3, 2015. He was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison and deprived of political rights for five years. Hu decided not to appeal.
Hu has suffered from kidney failure, high blood pressure, a heart attack, and a continued tight chest that causes him to need to sit up, among other health issues. As such, his family has begged the authorities to let him out to seek medical treatment.
They were told he would be allowed to do so after the trial of human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang was settled. Wang was tried and sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison in January 2019, but Hu was still not released.
Now, officials have told his family they have begun the process of letting him out for treatment, but the family is unsure whether or not they will actually release him.