[CHRB] Concerns Over Health of Detained Woman Activist & Anniversary of Cao Shunli’s Death (3/13-19/2015)Comments Off on [CHRB] Concerns Over Health of Detained Woman Activist & Anniversary of Cao Shunli’s Death (3/13-19/2015)
China Human Rights Briefing
March 13-19, 2015
- Concerns Grow Over Health of Detained Woman Human Rights Defender
Special Coverage on Torture
- Anniversary of Cao Shunli’s Death & Previously Unreported Detentions of Her Supporters
Concerns Grow Over Health of Detained Woman Human Rights Defender
Wu Rongrong (武嵘嵘), one of the five female human rights defenders under criminal detention in Beijing after a coordinated police action last week, suffers from Hepatitis B and has been denied treatment, according to her lawyer. The five women’s and LGBT rights activists, who also include Li Tingting (李婷婷), Wang Man (王曼), Wei Tingting (韦婷婷), and Zheng Churan (郑楚然) were picked up by police on March 6 and 7, just before engaging in an anti-sexual harassment campaign that they had planned for International Women’s Day. The five are currently being held at Haidian District Detention Center in Beijing on suspicion of “creating a disturbance.” Several other female activists seized around the same time were released after being briefly detained and interrogated.
Wu Rongrong, the executive director of the Weizhiming Women’s Center in Hangzhou, was taken to Beijing after police took her into custody. She told her lawyer during their first meeting on March 16—10 days after Wu was seized—that she had been forced to sleep on a concrete floor at the detention center while not being provided any medical treatment, including medication that she had been taking before her detention. When she asked authorities for the much-needed medicine, they refused her request, saying that her condition does not require treatment. Authorities subsequently told Wu’s lawyer that they would provide her a bed and medical care; however, when the lawyer visited Wu on March 18, he noticed that neither step has been implemented. The lawyer is considering applying for Wu’s bail on medical grounds.
One activist familiar with Wu’s health condition expressed concerns to CHRD about the seriousness and potentially rapid deterioration of her Hepatitis B, if appropriate treatment is not provided immediately. “Wu Rongrong’s illness could quickly evolve into a life-threatening condition,” the activist said. “With the precedent of activist Cao Shunli’s death due to deprived treatment in detention, we fear that nothing will stop authorities from treating Wu the same way.”
The lawyer for Zheng Churan, who was picked up in Guangzhou and also transported to Beijing, was able to visit Zheng on March 17. Zheng, who has poor eyesight, said guards confiscated her eyeglasses. CHRD has confirmed that Li Tingting also has been able to meet with her lawyer, and there are unconfirmed reports that lawyers have met with Wei Tingting and Wang Man as well. All five women have reportedly denied any unlawful activities and expressed appreciation to their supporters.
Police had picked up more than 10 activists, including the five still detained, who had intended to take part in the campaign timed to coincide with International Women’s Day. While the women were seized just prior to the planned activity, the five criminal detentions are believed to be broader retaliation for the women’s overall NGO rights activism, which has focused on gender equality and LGBT rights. Under President Xi Jinping, the Chinese government has dramatically decreased the already limited space for advocacy by targeting human rights defenders who promote rights in areas the government previously considered less sensitive, like those that the detained women work on, as CHRD documented in the newly released 2014 Annual Report on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders.
Special Coverage on Torture
Anniversary of Cao Shunli’s Death & Previously Unreported Detentions of Her Supporters
March 14 marked the one-year anniversary of the persecution to death of activist Cao Shunli (曹顺利), with supporters taking to the streets in several Chinese cities to commemorate her life and once again calling for the international community to lead an independent investigation into her death. In addition, three Chinese NGOs that established an award in Cao’s name to support Chinese human rights defenders have announced that Anhui activist Zhou Weilin (周维林), recently released from prison, is the first recipient of the award. He will receive funding for human rights projects, and hopefully gain a measure of recognition and protection.
In a previously unreported incident, a friend and supporter of Cao Shunli, Wang Ling (王玲), in her 60s, recounted her experience of being put under criminal detention in February 2014 and then subjected to mistreatment after she tried to visit Cao in the hospital. On February 21, 2014, Beijing police seized Wang and a dozen others as they were leaving the 309 Military Hospital, where they tried in vain to visit Cao. Wang was held for 40 days on suspicion of “creating a disturbance” at Haidian District Detention Center. Guards at the facility reportedly dragged Wang by her arms and legs on the floor after she fainted, leaving her with injuries that still impair her movement today. Wang mentioned that five others were taken to the Xibeiwang Town Police Station along with her. One of them, detained later at the same facility in Haidian, was Chen Shufeng (陈淑凤), a 77-year-old woman who was quite ill and twice sent to a hospital for emergency care during Wang’s period of detention. Wang also described how detainees had to pay for their own medical tests, bedding, toiletries, and other basic necessities in the detention facilities, in violation of the UN’s standard minimum rules on the treatment of prisoners. Police released Wang on “bail pending further investigation” on April 1, 2014.
From CHRD sources, another activist, Liu Xiaofang (刘晓芳), the only person (other than Cao’s younger brother) who managed to enter Cao’s hospital room to visit her, has been under house arrest in Beijing since April 2014, when she was released after being held for one month in Haidian District Detention Center. Liu is being watched closely by police, and has been barred from meeting any activists or speaking publicly.
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 “[Special Commemoration for 1st Anniversary of Cao Shunli Death] Wang Ling: Accompanying Cao Shunli to the Execution Groups (Part 4): Prison Already Turned Into Someone’s Factory and Appears as a Pioneer” (【纪念曹顺利离世一周年专题】王玲：陪曹顺利走向刑场 (四) ——监狱已成为利益工厂 以产生效益为先导), March 17, 2015, RDN; “[Special Commemoration for 1st Anniversary of Cao Shunli Death] Wang Ling: Accompanying Cao Shunli to the Execution Groups (Part 2): Inside the Police Station Troops Come out at 309 Case” (【纪念曹顺利离世一周年专题】王玲：陪曹顺利走向刑场 (二) ——派出所里倾巢出动 “ 铸就”309医院大案), March 14, 2015, RDN; “[Special Commemoration for 1st Anniversary of Cao Shunli Death] Wang Ling: Accompanying Cao Shunli to the Execution Groups (Part 1): On Her Deathbed Cao Shunli Turned into Bait and 309 Hospital Turned into ‘Crime Scene” (【纪念曹顺利离世一周年专题】王玲：陪曹顺利走向刑场 (一) 弥留之际的曹顺利成为诱饵 309医院成为“案发地”), March 13, 2015, RDN.