The sudden death of a prominent Chinese Christian lawyer leaves religious freedom advocates grieving as well as a little suspicious of foul play on the part of China’s government.
Chinese doctors declared 49-year-old Li Baiguang dead on February 25 despite a previous record of clean health, according to the advocacy group ChinaAid.
Li went to the hospital for a minor stomach ache and was declared dead hours later.
ChinaAid states that China has a history of either neglecting the medical conditions of human rights activists until they succumb to them or declaring previously healthy people to be dead.
In a statement, ChinaAid president Bob Fu said: "We are deeply saddened by the loss of one of China's most courageous, pro-constitution lawyers."
Gina Goh with International Christian Concern echoes those sentiments.
"He was definitely persecuted for all the great work he has done,” Goh says of Li. “He has been in and out of prison many times during his time as a lawyer and he never stopped advocating for people. He was very brave in his action, and for that he paid a large price, whether it was getting beat up or put in detention."
"While we keep his family in prayer," Goh adds, "forget not those Christian lawyers who are still suffering at the hands of the communist regime."