A pastor of the Living Stone Church in Guiyang, in China’s Guizhou province, was reportedly attacked and beaten by a government official in a police station on May 23.
The group Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) reported that the perpetrator of the attack claimed he represented the district level Committee of Political and Legal Affairs of the local government.
The attack took place in front of three other local officials.
Pastor Yang Hua’s plan to visit Christian friends in Qingdao the following day might have caused the attack, according to the CSW report.
“It is believed that the official was trying to stop [the pastor] from making the visit,” said the report.
Yang was taken to hospital following the attack and was scheduled to undergo further medical checks.
Yang Hua has been detained for two-and-a-half years until his release in June 2019 for allegedly “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.
In its statement, CSW expressed concern over Yang’s health condition, saying the attack might exacerbate his “already serious underlying health conditions.”
We call on the police to conduct an immediate and impartial investigation into the attack, holding those responsible to account,” said Mervyn Thomas, CSW president.
He also called on 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.”