A Christian pastor jailed in China is in worsening health and campaigners say his ‘critical’ condition is being made worse by neglect.
Pastor Yang Hua of the Living Stone house church in Guiyang is reportedly ‘on the verge of paralysis’ while being held at Nanming District Detention Centre, according to China Change.
Its report says his legs were becoming ulcerated and inflamed, and he was unable to sleep at night. A physician on duty reportedly treated his condition as a minor skin infection, and administered painkillers.
Yang described his pain as ‘truly unbearable’. On the night of March 22 he ‘rang the alarm to report to the cadres on duty. Officer Luo, on watch that night, was furious at being disturbed and screamed some truly awful obscenities at me. No one else in the cell was able to sleep, so in the end the physician on duty gave me two painkillers. I haven’t been able to walk or go to the toilet by myself during this period.’
Yang was then diagnosed with a form of allergic vasculitis, an inflammation of the blood vessels, and told that if no treatment could be found one outcome might be amputation above the knee.
‘He recommended high doses of penicillin for a fortnight,’ Yang said. ‘The detention centre clinic, however, does not have penicillin.’ Yang said he was taken to a hospital and examined but no diagnosis was given, he was simply told that the cost of treatment could be very high.
His condition has only worsened since then, according to Yang’s lawyers. They say his situation is urgent and he needs a hospital and appropriate treatment as soon as possible. Otherwise, they say, Yang’s captors will be responsible for exacerbating his condition. Yang’s wife said doctors described his situation ‘severe illness’, that could develop into ‘septicaemia, haemorrhaging of the digestive tract, kidney damage, and more’.
Pastor Yang Hua, 41 was arrested on December 9, 2015, and tried on December 26, 2016 on charges of ‘deliberately divulging state secrets’. He was sentenced to 2.5 years in jail in January this year. At the same time of his arrest, his urban house church, Living Stone, was banned.
The church grew rapidly from 2008 but has been under constant surveillance and faced consistent opposition. In July 2015 its accountant and chairman of the Board of Deacons, Zhang Xiuhong, was arrested.