China Aid Association
Respected Supreme Court of the People:
We are the daughters of Rev. Gong Shengliang, founder of the South China Church.
Our father Rev. Gong Shengliang was born in Zaoyang city of Hubei province. He believed in Jesus Christ since childhood. He is the third generation Christian of the family and also a preacher. Since 1986 he has been preaching the Gospel of redemption through Christ in over a dozen provinces of inland China, cultivating new life, building up churches, and implementing salvation. He founded the South China Church. He was arrested on charges of being involved in cult sects and became the first defendant in the case of the South China Church. He is now serving his sentence in the Hongshan Penitentiary of Hubei Province.
Our father was arrested in Jingmen city, Hubei Province at about 9 pm August 8, 2001. The relevant authorities did not serve notice on the family, and blockaded all information from being leaked out. For three months we had been inquiring about his whereabouts in cities like Zhongxiang, Jingmen and others yet got no information of him. We didn’t know where he was detained or if he was still alive, and were deeply concerned about him. We didn’t know for certain that father was detained at the No. 1 Penitentiary of Jingmen city until December 10, 2001 when our elder uncle and little aunt went again to inquire at the Jingmen Penitentiary and the Court intending to send clothes and supplies to him. At that time father asked about engaging an attorney for his defense since his case was about to be tried in Court.
On December 14, 2001 an attorney was engaged to defend for father. The attorney told us that the case would be tried four days later on December 19. After three days of trial the court did not allow the family to be notified of the judgment. Instead they came to announce the judgment in the Penitentiary after 9 o’clock at night on December 29. Afterward we found out from other sources that father had been sentenced to double death penalty on charges of organizing and exploiting cult sects to violate law enforcement, intentional injury and rape. Later the sentence was revoked by the Supreme Court of Hubei Province for retrial on the grounds of “vague facts, insufficient evidence and unlawful procedures”. The second trial was held on October 9 and 10 of 2002 and the charge of cult sects was removed, but he was re-sentenced to life in prison on charges of intentional injury and rape.
These charges were painstakingly schemed by the special case group of Zhongxiang implementing the policy of “life to those who confess and death to those who refuse”. They adopted such techniques as forced confession under coercion and enticed confession via deception and trapping, and demanded that all the detained South China Church followers admit that “Gong Dali planned and instigated the infliction of injuries” and that all the female followers confess to “have had sexual intercourse with Gong Dali”. A female follower named Yu Zhongju was beaten to death in the Penitentiary just because she refused to make false accusations. And Yi Chuanfu had over 200 beating wounds on his body. All they did was for the purpose of condemning Gong Dali our father to death and outlawing South China Church so that they themselves could be rewarded and promoted. All the other fellow detainees of the case escaped death with scars of brutal torture.
We are writing these words with a heavy heart, trembling hands, and weeping eyes, since we know our father’s personality, his faith, and his devotion, as well as the behind-the-scenes facts relating to this church case….
The special case group of Zhongxiang ignored the laws and legal procedures of the state in order to treat the case of South China Church as an ironclad death penalty case and they first condemned father to death and then fabricated evidence for death.
The following are eye witness narratives of father’s arrest: At that time our father Gong Dali was walking in the section of Bai Shi Po Road of Duodao District of Jingmen city, about 20 unidentified men rushed toward him simultaneously from his left, right, and rear and threw him on the ground, shouting: “Don’t let him go”, “Beat him to death”. Some of them pushed down his hands, others pushed down his feet, and still others pressed down his head. They bound his hands behind his back and shackled his feet. They beat and kicked him indiscriminately with their fists and feet, and father spat blood from his mouth on the spot. They pulled father into a white car. Since father was restrained on both hands and feet, he fell down several times and was thrown in again and again. As father stated in his complaint, he had been shackled as a death row convict without trial ever since the day of his arrest, even during the three days of his court appearance in 2001, for as long as 16 months until September 23, 2002 totaling 411 days. After he was arrested that day, he was blindfolded and escorted overnight to the Public Security Bureau of Zhongxiang city and put into a tightly enclosed torment chamber. He was interrogated consecutively by case personnel and not allowed to even close his eyes for 72 hours. He fainted away on the ground and was awakened by splashing cold water on him. He got a high fever and fainted and was rushed to Qiaotou Hospital of Zhongxiang city for infusion and emergency treatment and hospitalized for a month. After more than two months of cruel torture including electric clubbing, beating while hanging, intimidation, false commitment, finger printing under pressure, etc., they finally collected the “evidence” they desired to charge South China Church as a “cult sect and criminal ring” and condemn father Gong Dali to death. The brothers and sisters who were arrested in 2001 saw, during interrogation, a photo of father sitting on the straw against the wall in a corner, in the process of getting infusion. They also saw father, having endured torture and proceeding to be interrogated, clad in rags and tottering along in shackles.
Father was transferred on December 2, 2002 to the Gucheng Penitentiary of Jingzhou, Hubei to serve his sentence. Everyday he had to work continuously, excluding meal time, from 6 o’clock in the morning till 12 midnight or 2 the following morning, equivalent to an 18 or 20 hour work day. Father in his 50s endured the rarely high intensity of labor and felt giddy in both eyes with each passing day and almost fainted and fell down more than once. Father received his first order upon entering this prison: “Do not speak to anybody and do not answer anybody’s questions”. There were also the following strict rules posted on the prison section board: “No old inmates shall talk to new inmates, especially those new inmates who committed crimes related to church exploitation, and anyone who violates the rules will be severely punished.” And there were specially designated inmates conducting 24-hour close personal watch, monitoring, tracing and reporting on him. Father could only shake his head or wave instead of speaking. Moreover, the wardens inspired other inmates to speak to father purposefully. Father could not answer them in obedience to prison orders. As a result he was brutally beaten to the extent that his left ear bled and lost hearing and his stools and urines bled. He tried many times to talk with the wardens on this issue but was refused all along. He was left with only a faint breath at nobody’s care.
The family got the information through several sources and was deeply concerned about father’s life. Under the attention and pressure of public opinion father was transferred to the Hongshan Penitentiary of Wuhan, Hubei on July 15, 2003. We thought that father’s conditions would improve and our hearts were put a little bit at ease. However the facts were on the contrary and his situations became even more dangerous.
In the Hongshan Penitentiary there are still two inmates assigned to conduct 24-hour monitoring, tracing and reporting on his actions and moves. He is regarded as a “terrorist who could explode at any time”. In the prison of 21st century China which has entered WTO and connected with the world, and proclaims “civilization” and “rule of law\”, father is being locked in a “prison inside a prison” and treated as a “criminal among criminals”, for he is a Christian.
In April 2004 when father was assigned to work mid-air above the ground in the prison mess hall, he fell down and injured his back and legs. After father was arrested in 2001 the special case group of Zhongxiang blockaded information to prevent the family from knowing where he was detained and we could not send him clothes and supplies. Therefore father had worn for three months the same summer dress he wore when he was arrested until winter came. He had been imprisoned for 16 months in the detention cell notorious for dampness. Having to endure winter cold and long period of living in dampness made father incur severe rheumatism causing his legs in painful, numb and stiff condition. Still he had to work at a height without any protection gear and fell down on the mess hall floor. What made people hard to believe was that he did not receive any treatment until the next day when the family came to visit, and he was dragged out by two inmates for the visitation.
Not only that. December 13, 2004 was another visitation day to see father. When writing out the visitation permit the warden told us: “He (father) does not want to meet family.” When we came to Section Head Xie, he said: “We have suspended his visitation.” Hearing different versions, we began to feel worried and frightened not knowing what had happened again. After our repeated and earnest requests they agreed that we could come again on December 23 for a visit. On that day we came and asked father: “Why don’t you want to see us?” Father said: “Not that I don’t want to see you, to see my dear family at the last moments of my life.” Then he told us that his stomach disease suddenly broke out on November 29 and he vomited continuously. He hadn’t eaten or drunk anything for nine days by December 8. He requested for medical treatment but was ignored by the wardens.
Section Head Xie even said to him: “I don’t believe that you haven’t eaten or drunk for 9 days. You told us that you did not eat even if you ate,” thus accusing him of pretending sickness. Father said: “It is up to you to believe me or not, but you cannot insult my integrity. You can go ask the two ‘bodyguards’ you dispatched to watch over me by turns.” Only then he was given 5 tablets of stomach medicine. Altogether father had not eaten or drunk for 15 days and was lying in bed too weak to get up. The inmates in the same cell constantly probed his nostril for breath to make sure he was still alive. They thought that he would not survive this time. The wardens later took him to the Army Hospital of Wuhan. The doctor there said: “He is so critically ill that were he not brought in on time, he would€¦.” Father proposed to have a thorough examination and further treatment in a regular hospital at his own expense, but was flatly refused. On the visitation day father requested he be carried out to see his family but was rejected. On a visitation day in September 2005, father mentioned that he felt suffocating and aching in his stomach.
Father had a resection due to perforation of stomach in September 1990. The disease recurred many times as a result of torture and devastation. Although the external injuries on his body have healed over the years, the invisible, internal wounds are still worsening and tormenting our father….
He has nowadays been deprived of the civil rights that an imprisoned citizen deserves. He has filed many complaints, yet these have been seized on the grounds that they contained prohibited words such as “believing masses”, “South China Church”, “complain to the People’s Congress”, etc. Thus his right of petition has been deprived. We the family engaged an attorney for father in 2005. The attorney came to visit father twice in January and March, and even came to the Prison Administration. But the attorney was denied entry at the gate each time. The reason given for refusal was that “he (father) did not file a complaint”.
Everybody in the penitentiary is fixing his or her attention on father to find some fault to report to the authorities. At one visitation party in December I noticed that father was not dressing warm enough so I approached him and pulled his sleeves. One of the wardens saw that and rushed over shouting: “What are you doing?” All the inmates and their families at the party turned their heads and looked toward us. I was really at a loss what I, as a daughter, did wrong in taking care of my father?
Once at the end of a visitation, the wardens comforted us saying: “His (Father’s) work load has been reduced a lot now, and his health has improved year after year. He was suffering from disease at this time last year. This year he is getting better and better and even gains some weight”. Another warden said: “We are concerned that he might develop high blood pressure or diabetes and the like with his age, and may at any time€¦.” There are also some kindhearted people reminding father to “wash your bowel and chopsticks before eating and drinking”. We don’t know what all these mean or imply.
As daughters we feel heavy hearted and worried, not knowing what to do and nowhere to turn to for comfort. We’ve been worrying about all the physical, spiritual, mental, and circumstantial distress that father has suffered. We are concerned that father might have survived the brutal torture by the Zhongxiang Public Security Bureau, and the imposition of false charges, the wrongful prosecution, and the misjudgment by the court, yet he might not survive in the prison that should protect inmates’ health according to state laws. We are worried about the prospect of not being able to see father again at any time.
The entire family hereby petitions and earnestly beseeches the Supreme Court of the People to grant medical parole to our father Gong Dali, so that he can receive prompt treatment for his diseases.
Gong Huali and Gong Xiaoyan
Daughters of Gong Shengliang
Founder of the South China Church
January 2, 2006
Dear Madams and Sirs:
Rev. Gong Shengliang is the founder and leader of the South China Christian Church. He is also the first defendant in the case of South China Church. He was born in Zaoyang city of Hubei province on May 27, 1952. He sincerely believed in Jesus Christ since childhood and fervently preached the word of repentance and redemption. Since the late 1960s up till now, Rev. Gong has led South China Church in a nationwide mission of preaching the Gospel, cultivating new life, and implementing salvation so tens of thousands of people have discarded idols and turned back to God, willing to serve the true and living God (1 Thessalonians 1:9). They have established one church after another in about a dozen of provinces and municipalities including Hubei, Henan, Shandong, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, Sichuan and Chongqing.
However, Rev. Gong and South China Church have been preaching the Gospel of Christ under conviction, persecution and pursuit all the time.
Rev. Gong was arrested on Aug 8, 2001 and was sentenced at first trial to death under the “crime of organizing and exploiting cult sects to violate the enforcement of laws” by the Chinese government authorities. His case was later revoked and retried due to vague facts, insufficient evidence and unlawful procedures and he re-sentenced to life in prison. He had been jailed in detention centers in Jingmen and Zhongxiang, and in Jingzhou Penitentiary. He was transferred to Hongshan Penitentiary of Wuhan, Hubei on July 15, 2003 and has stayed there until now.
The government authorities painstakingly schemed the appalling case of South China Christian Church. In order to achieve their pre-fabricated attempt, they compelled all the detained believing followers to accuse Rev. Gong Shengliang by implementing various techniques such as “forced confession under torture and coercion, enticed confession via deception and trapping, and life to those who confess and death to those who refuse”, etc. Their aim was to impose crime on Rev. Gong and put him to death (A female follower named Yu Zhongju was beaten to death by Public Security Bureau of Zhongxiang city just because she refused to make false accusations).
More than 20 plainclothes policemen were dispatched to arrest Rev. Gong. They rushed forward in a horde and threw him on the ground and beat and kicked him with their fists and feet. Rev. Gong was beaten so hard that he instantly bled through his mouth and nose, in his stools and urines. He was treated like a terrorist, with a black bag wrapped around his head and his body bound solid with cords. He was tossed onto a truck, yet he slipped several times and was thrown over and over again. This atrocious scene was eye witnessed by the few students who were arrested with him at the same time and several passers-by. Rev. Gong was escorted overnight to the Public Security Bureau of Zhongxiang city and put into a tightly enclosed interrogation room. He was interrogated consecutively by case personnel and not allowed to even close his eyes for 72 hours. He fainted away several times and was awakened by splashing cold water. He got a high fever and fainted due to inflamed internal injuries and was rushed to Qiaotou Orthopedic Hospital of Zhongxiang city for emergency treatment and hospitalized for a month. He had been heavily shackled on both his hands and feet like a death row convict ever since his arrest.
After more than two months of torture including electric clubbing, shackling, beating while hanging, intimidation, finger printing under pressure on Rev. Gong and detained followers, including bodily humiliation to the sisters, enough evidence was finally “collected” to put South China Church in court on December 19, 2001. The government’s end was served when South China Church was finally condemned as a “cult sect and criminal ring” and Rev. Gong was convicted to death. The case personnel blocked all external communications on the case and denied the existence of Rev. Gong when family came to inquire. Until the cold winter day of December 10 the family had clothes and quilt sent in when notified by some kindhearted people. The students jailed in the same penitentiary and inmates of the same cell all witnessed that Rev. Gong in those winter days still wore summer dress as he was arrested in August. He was thin and pallid and looked haggard after torment. At one time a sister was interrogated and presented with a photo by Liu Congzheng, the case leader, for her to recognize. The photo showed Rev. Gong sitting on the straw against the wall in a corner, in the process of infusion. He has been left with severe internal injuries and rheumatism among various diseases as a result of long-term imprisonment in dark and damp detention cells and suffering from torture and shackling (for 411 days even when he was in court), and lack of provisions of basic food, clothing and daily supplies.
He was transferred on December 2, 2002 to Jingzhou Penitentiary of Hubei to serve his term. The prison had the strict rules that banned all old inmates from talking to new inmates, especially those new inmates who committed crimes related to church exploitation, and anyone who violated the rules would be severely punished. The prison still treated him as a cult criminal and imposed dual special supervision ordering two inmates conducting day and night close personal watch on him, controlling his every movement and reporting to the wardens. He was even prohibited from using the public latrine steps away. The wardens strictly ordered Rev. Gong: “Do not speak to anybody and do not answer anybody’s questions”. Since then Rev. Gong’s tongue became useless and he could only nod or wave instead of speaking. So he was deprived of his right of speech. Nevertheless, the wardens inspired or instigated other inmates to speak to Rev. Gong on purpose. Rev. Gong could not answer them in obedience to the wardens’ orders. As a result he was brutally beaten to the extent that he suffered incontinence and his stools and urines had bleeding. His left ear was beaten to bleeding and lost hearing until now. He tried many times to meet the wardens for this reason but was refused all along. Thanks to the external appeals from many parties and pressured by public opinion from outside, the wardens began to meet Rev. Gong for the first time in a month.
While Rev. Gong was suffering from severe physical and mental devastation, he still had to endure an overload of labor tasks. He had to work continuously, excluding meal time, from 6 o’clock in the morning till 12 midnight or 2 the following morning, which was an 18 or 20 hour work day. He often felt giddy in both eyes due to physical and mental affliction, and almost fainted and fell down more than once. His stomach disease recurred and had bleeding in his stools. Still he was forced to write a report on his ideological reform every week.
He was transferred to Hongshan Penitentiary of Wuhan, Hubei on July 15, 2003, yet the treatment of Rev. Gong did not improve as the location changed. On the contrary, his situation became even more threatening. Although there hanged high in the center of the wall of the prison hall a sign reading “inmates have the right to freedom of religious belief.” However Rev. Gong was rigidly deprived of his belief. Several copies of his complaints and Bibles were confiscated. “Only faith in ideology is permitted, not faith in action. Preaching Christianity is not allowed.” For Rev. Gong Shengliang as a Christian, staying in the prison of the so-called civilized country ruled by law, being treated as the most vicious criminal and locked inside the most secure cell, was equivalent to death. The wardens assigned him to sweep and mop the mess hall and forced Rev. Gong who was getting on in years to perform tasks at altitudes with no safety and protection gears.
Even younger persons used to fall down doing such work. Once in April 2004 when he was wiping the outside window panes, he fell out of the window due to illness and fatigue and injured his back and legs. As his family came to visit, he was dragged out and supported by two inmates. His back has been in pain and his legs numb up till now. The wardens said the fall was caused by his absent mind while immersed in reading the Bible. At a visit on December 13, 2004 the wardens told the family that he could neither eat nor drink due to vomiting out all he had eaten or drunk, and that the medical check result was stomach disease recurrence. Rev. Gong had a resection due to perforation of stomach in 1990 and the disease recurred as a result of beating and internal injuries. For this reason the family could not see him at the visit. The family was deeply worried and came again to visit on December 23, 2004 and learned that Rev. Gong’s disease had recurred since November 29. He was still extremely weak and looked like mortally ill. When asked by the family, Rev. Gong said, “This time the stomach disease suddenly broke out and I vomit on food or water. Later I could not even eat and haven’t eaten or drunk for fifteen days. At the 9th day I had the feeling that I would not be able to cross the threshold of life. So I wrote to the wardens a letter appealing for life saying that I haven’t eaten or drunk for 9 days and ask permission to see the doctor.” The wardens did not believe and scolded him of pretending sickness. Rev. Gong said, “You may not believe but you cannot insult my integrity. Don’t you dispatch two bodyguards to watch over me by turns? Go ask them.” By that time Rev. Gong had not eaten or drunk for 15 days and was lying in bed. The inmates in the same room constantly probed his nostril for breath to make sure he was still alive. The inmates thought that he would not survive this time. The wardens obtained confirmation from the inmates watching him and reluctantly brought him to the prison clinic for checkup. The doctor there prescribed him 5 tablets of stomach medicine. Later the wardens took him to the municipal hospital of Wuhan for treatment. The doctor there said: “He is critically ill. Were he not brought in on time, he would€¦.” The wardens took him to the Army Hospital of Wuhan for five times in a row. Under treatment by doctors, his condition was temporarily relieved, but not completely cured. Rev. Gong proposed to have a thorough examination and further treatment in a regular hospital at his own expense, but was flatly refused by the prison. Right now Rev. Gong’s conditions like stomach disease, rheumatism and tracheitis have worsened for not being able to obtain prompt treatment. He feels suffocating and pain in his stomach beyond endurance.
Rev. Gong Shengliang has submitted numerous complaints in prison but the wardens refused to forward the complaints to their superiors. In January and March of 2005 the attorney for Rev. Gong came to visit him at Hongshan Penitentiary twice but each time was denied entry at the gate. The reason given for refusal was that Rev. Gong did not file a complaint. Later the attorney visited Prison Administration but to no avail as well. The most troubling thing is what the wardens saying: “We are concerned that he might develop high blood pressure or heart attack and the like with his age, and may at any time€¦.” There are also some kindhearted people remind Rev. Gong to wash his cup, bowel and chopsticks before eating and drinking. Rev. Gong says: “It is useless for me to take precautions in this place at the present time.” We don’t know what he means by theses words, only have a feeling that they may hint at some dreadful danger ahead. Therefore we appeal to Christian church brethrens at home and abroad and peace-loving friends of various circles throughout the world to take account of our request.
We, the entire congregation of South China Church and the family of Rev. Gong, are deeply concerned about his situations and physical conditions. Therefore, we submit our strong request and serious application to government authorities to grant Rev. Gong Shengliang medical parole so that he can obtain prompt treatment of his physical diseases.
Sincere greetings in Jesus Christ!
South China Christian Church
December 31, 2005
The family of Gong Dali, the first defendant in the case of South China Church of Chinese Christianity, sincerely engages Esq. Zhang Xingshui of Jingding Attorneys’ Office to act as the legal counsel and attorney on behalf of Gong Dali and retain authorization to handle all legal affairs regarding the Gong Dali church case.
Party granting authorization:
January 1, 2006
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