Terminally ill Chinese Activist Sentenced to 4 Years in PrisonComments Off on Terminally ill Chinese Activist Sentenced to 4 Years in Prison
Originally published by Latin American Herald Tribune on February 16, 2016
BEIJING – A court in China has sentenced an activist with terminal cancer to four years imprisonment for “disrupting social order,” a common practice in the country against critics of the government, Chinese Human Rights Defenders, or CHRD , said Friday.
Zhang Shuzhi, 55, had openly protested against the government and defended the rights of fellow activists, said the Hong Kong-based human rights organization.
The verdict was announced end January but the authorities have refused to release the activist on bail despite her poor health, said CHRD , in a statement.
In the 1990s Zhang became, what is known in China as petitioners, or citizens who invoke an antique imperial system of asking the central government for justice after exhausting all other legal routes at the local and regional levels.
When the company for which Zhang worked refused to pay her some of her wages due to an illness she was suffering from, the activist began her crusade for justice, exposing the corrupt practices of one of the directors of her company in the process.
Her public protests sparked off a series of abuses against her, from threats to physical assaults, and she was also jailed several times in illegal prisons or “black jails” or the defunct re-education camps, where the government could imprison anyone without trial.
During those years, Zhang transformed herself from a petitioner to a human rights activist and participated in several campaigns demanding the release of fellow activists, including Xu Zhiyong, sentenced to four years of imprisonment, or Cao Shunli, who died in a Chinese hospital during detention.