The health of the jailed founder of one of China's largest evangelical house-church denominations is "rapidly deteriorating" and he may die due to a lack of medical care, his daughter and other Christians confirmed Thursday, July 3.
Pastor Gong Shengliang, who supervises the 100,000-member South China Church (SCC) in several provinces, reportedly suffers of ailments linked to high blood pressure and 'cerebral infraction', an ischemic stroke resulting from a blockage in blood vessels supplying blood to the brain.
"But prison authorities have refused to allow a proper medical checkup and adequate treatments," said the pastor's daughter Huali Gong in a statement obtained by BosNewsLife.
"Consequently, my father’s illness got worse and worse," she added. "More than once my father almost fell to the ground" for instance in November, Huali explained.
Health troubles are the latest setback for the pastor, who has been detained in Hubei province since December 2001, when he and four fellow SCC church leaders were convicted and sentenced to death under China's anti-cult legislation. Eleven other SCC officials received life imprisonment.