Several Activists and Dissidents Languish in Detention despite Serious Illnesses

Comments Off on Several Activists and Dissidents Languish in Detention despite Serious Illnesses

Several Activists and Dissidents Languish in Detention despite Serious Illnesses

Yang Tongyan’s case highlights official practice to delay or deny requests for release for treatment

(Chinese Human Rights Defenders, November 5, 2009) – Several cases that CHRD has recently documented, including the latest news that imprisoned dissident writer Yang Tongyan (杨同彦, aka Yang Tianshui [杨天水]) is critically ill, raise serious concerns about the treatment of detainees in Chinese prisons and detention centers. CHRD calls on the Chinese government to release Yang and other prisoners of conscience in urgent need for medical attention, such as Chen Guangcheng, Fan Yanqiong, Hu Jia and Huang Qi.

On November 4, CHRD learned that Yang, currently serving a 12-year sentence for “subversion of state power” in Nanjing Prison, has been hospitalized since mid-September. Yang is ill with a myriad of illnesses, which include intestinal tuberculosis, tuberculous peritonitis, diabetes, kidney inflammation, and high blood pressure. Yang’s family found out about his hospitalization when they received his letter on October 20. On October 27, Yang’s sister visited him and said that he had become so thin that he was unrecognizable. Yang’s family is very worried about his health and they believe that he is not receiving effective treatment. Yang’s family plans to apply for his release on bail for medical treatment.

Yang is a longtime dissident and author of numerous political essays advocating for democracy and political reform. Between 1990 and 2000, Yang was imprisoned for ten years for organizing the China Democratic League (中华民主联盟), and since 2006 he has been imprisoned for organizing the China Democracy Party (中国民主党).

“I doubt the authorities would release Yang for treatment until he becomes so ill that he is about to die. Just look at the case of Heilongjiang petitioner Luo Shubo, who died days after they released her last year…this is basically just one way they punish dissidents!” said Qin Hong, a CHRD researcher who has been following the case.

The Chinese government routinely denies, or delays in responding to, applications for bail for medical treatment by prisoners of conscience, who should not have been incarcerated in the first place. Activists who are ill and who continue to be incarcerated include:

Chen Guangcheng (陈光诚), an imprisoned Shandong activist who has been suffering from chronic gastroenteritis without proper medical attention since July 2008. Chen has lost 4 kg (slightly less than 9 pounds) in weight this past month. Chen, who is blind, is eligible both for parole and for release on bail for medical treatment, according to relevant Chinese laws and regulations. However, since submitting his applications for parole in September 2008 and for release on bail for medical treatment in late 2008, he has received no official response.

Fan Yanqiong (范燕琼), a Fujian activist detained on suspicion of “making false charges,” suffers from serious kidney and heart diseases. Fan’s lawyer filed an application for her release on bail for medical treatment on August 31, 2009, but officials still have not responded to the requests.

Hu Jia (胡佳), a Beijing activist imprisoned for “inciting subversion of state power,” is in poor health and suffers from liver cirrhosis. The prison authorities denied Hu’s application for release on bail for medical treatment in early June 2008.

Huang Qi (黄琦), a Sichuan activist detained on suspicion of “illegal possession of state secrets,” has two tumors growing on his chest and stomach, and is suffering from headaches and heart troubles. Although Huang’s lawyers applied for his release on bail for medical treatment many months ago, authorities never responded.

CHRD calls on the Chinese government to immediately release Yang Tianshui, Chen Guangcheng, Fan Yanqiong, Hu Jia and Huang Qi for medical treatment. These individuals have been incarcerated solely for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and to association, rights that are guaranteed in Article 19 and 22 of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, which China signed but not yet ratified. The same rights are also guaranteed in Article 35 of the Chinese Constitution.

For more information, please see:

黄琦狱中健康令人担忧, November 2, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class18/huangqi/200911/20091102114425_18048.html

Huang Qi Reportedly Ill in Detention, Denied Access to Medical Attention, July 28, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class9/Class10/200907/20090729013619_16502.html

袁伟静谈陈光诚及家人近况, October 14, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class18/Class51/200910/20091016121109_17772.html

Imprisoned Human Rights Defender Chen Guangcheng Denied Medical Care, January 14, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class9/Class10/200901/20090115134520_13092.html

范燕琼代理律师与家属申请保外就医均无消息, September 21, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class18/yanxiaoling/200909/20090921164203_17392.html

Imprisoned Activist Hu Jia Still Denied Access to Adequate Medical Care, June 12, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class9/Class10/200806/20080613061829_9006.html

Media contacts for this press release:

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

Jiang Yingying, Researcher (English and Mandarin): +852 8170 0237

Back to Top