"Just come and pick up my corpse," says imprisoned pastor

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

April 13, 2004

Pastor Gong Shengliang, the imprisoned leader of the South China Church, told relatives during a prison visit Monday that he fears for his life in Hongshan Prison, Wuhan City, Hubei Province.

“If you are able in any way, please transfer me to another prison,” Gong begged his three sisters during a 10-minute visit on Monday. “Otherwise, just come and pick up my corpse.”

VOM sources said that Gong had to be carried into the visiting hall at the prison by four other inmates, as he could not walk. When one of the sisters pressed the guard for an explanation of Gong’s injuries, the guard said that the pastor fell while he was washing windows in the prison. According to the guard, Gong was washing the inside of the windows, yet somehow fell outside the building.

Gong is accompanied everywhere he goes inside the prison by two guards, making the report of a fall out of a window even more incredible.

When Gong was asked about the injury, he first looked at the guard and then said reluctantly, “Yes, I fell.

The sisters were only allowed 10 minutes with Gong, and were separated by two panes of glass and forced to talk via a telephone.

When asked why he had stopped writing letters to those outside of prison, Gong said, “I don’t have the strength to write. When I pick up my pen, there are lots of troubles.”

When one of Gong’s sisters complained of his injuries to the prison director, Sun Wenquan, she was told that Gong is a model prisoner in every respect except one: he refuses to denounce his faith in Christ, and he will not stop praying and preaching.

“He is so into the Bible that he has lost touch with reality,” the sisters were told.

The Voice of the Martyrs urges Christians to write to the Chinese government on Gong’s behalf, requesting a transfer of prisons.

“The man in charge of the prison says this is a model prisoner,” said Todd Nettleton, a spokesman for VOM. “Yet he has already spent 411 days with his arms and legs chained. Without God’s help, this innocent man is not likely to survive many more weeks in Hongshan Prison.”

Christians may also send letters of encouragement directly to Pastor Gong:

Gong Shengliang
Prison Section Four Te Yi Hao
Hongshan Prison, Miaoshan Development Zone
Jiangxia District, Wuhan City, Hubei Province
People’s Republic of China 430223