Chinese pastor Yang Hua of Living Stone Church was attacked and beaten by a government official in a police station in Guiyang, Guizhou Province on 23 May.
CSW has learned that the perpetrator of the attack was in plainclothes but claimed he represented the district level Committee of Political and Legal Affairs. Pastor Yang Hua had been planning to visit Christian friends in Qingdao the following day, 24 May, and it is believed that the official was trying to stop him from making the visit. The attack took place in front of three other local officials on 23 May.
Yang was taken to hospital following the attack with scratches to his ear and neck, and symptoms of tinnitus. The attack also triggered a suspected flare up of pancreatitis, a pre-existing condition, according to people familiar with the situation. Yang will undergo further medical checks in the coming days.
Yang Hua was released in June 2019 after serving a two-and-a-half-year sentence for “divulging state secrets”, in a crackdown on Living Stone Church’s leaders and members. The church’s other pastor, Su Tianfu, was sentenced in May 2018 to one year’s imprisonment, suspended for two years, and a further six months’ house arrest.
Upon his release CSW reported that Pastor Yang was in urgent need of medical care for several health problems.
CSW’s Founder President Mervyn Thomas said: “CSW is alarmed by news that Pastor Yang Hua has been the victim of a brutal attack by a government official, reportedly in front of several others. We are especially concerned that this may exacerbate his already serious underlying health conditions, as has been the case in the past. We call on the police to conduct an immediate and impartial investigation into the attack, holding those responsible to account. We further urge authorities in Guizhou to cease all harassment of Pastor Yang, other members of Living Stone Church, and Christians and members of other religious groups across the province.”