Incarcerated Activist Denied Care, in Grave Condition

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Incarcerated Activist Denied Care, in Grave Condition

(Chinese Human Rights Defenders, February 25, 2009)- CHRD learned recently that Wang Guilan (王桂兰), an incarcerated petitioner and activist from Enshi City, Hubei Province, is in need of immediate medical attention as she suffers from a serious infection of burn wounds as well as hypertension and heart disease.

Wang’s condition has deteriorated to the point that, though she was sent to 15 months of Re-education through Labor in August, 2008, the Wuhan RTL camp to which she was assigned will not admit her because of medical concerns. Rather than releasing her on bail for medical treatment, however, Enshi City authorities have kept her incarcerated in the Enshi City Detention Center. According to her parents and others who have visited her recently, Wang’s life may be in danger if she is not allowed access to proper treatment.

CHRD is appalled at the cruel and inhumane treatment to which Enshi City officials have subjected Wang. CHRD calls for her immediate release. To continue to hold her in detention after another government agency has refused to accept her on the grounds of medical concerns may indicate a deliberate and malicious intent on the part of authorities who have repeatedly retaliated against her for her persisting in efforts to petition higher authorities about abuses and corruption of local officials.

The refusal on the part of officials to grant Wang access to medical care violates both Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as well as the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment.


In 2001, Wang Guilan was forced out of her business in an Enshi City mall by developers and never properly compensated. Unable to seek redress through legal avenues and abused by court officials when she went in search of justice, Wang set herself on fire in protest and suffered traumatic injuries. She began petitioning the government in the wake of this incident and later became an activist for petitioners’ rights, organizing a public letter to public officials on behalf of petitioners and exposing illegal police practices directed against petitioners in Beijing.

As a result of her activism, Wang has been detained in “black jails” on numerous occasions and has served one previous 15-month term of RTL. Wang was most recently detained on April 22, 2008, in the nation-wide police operations designed to intercept petitioners going to Beijing in order to keep the Olympics city “safe and clean.” She was stopped by interceptors in Beijing and forcibly returned to Enshi City, where police sent her to RTL for “disturbing social order.” According to the authorities, Wang was punished for accepting a phone interview by foreign journalist.

For more information, please see:

“Enshi City, Hubei Province Rights Defender Wang Guilan in Grave Condition; Local Government Will Not Allow Bail for Medical Treatment” (湖北恩施维权代表王桂兰病情严重 当地政府不给保外就) (February 25, 2009)

“Olympics Crackdown Continues as Another Activist Is Sent to Labor Camp” (August 31, 2008)

“Open Letter Organizer Seized by Police for Demanding Rights as Olympics Approach” (February 28, 2008)

Media contacts for this press release:

Renee Xia, International Director (English and Mandarin): +852 8191 6937

Wang Songlian, Research Coordinator and English Editor (English, Mandarin and Cantonese): +85281911660

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