Rights activist Cao Shunli near death due to 'neglect in prison'

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 02 March, 2014, 5:44am
UPDATED : Sunday, 02 March, 2014, 5:44am

Human rights activist Cao Shunli, detained in September for staging sit-ins at the Foreign Ministry, is suffering from an organ failure and has only a few days to live after being denied medical treatment in detention, a close friend said yesterday.

"Yesterday at 10am, the hospital told the family members to rush there and said her condition is terminal," said Liu Xiaofang, a close friend of Cao.

Liu also went to the hospital and spoke with a doctor who was treating Cao.

"He stressed one point: that Cao Shunli's situation is extremely bad and was caused by her long period in detention. He's extremely dissatisfied with the situation and told the police: 'This is a person's life, you can't treat this as a game.'"

Cao's kidneys were failing and the doctor told Liu she had two or three days to live.

Cao staged a two-month sit-in with other activists beginning in June to press for the public to be allowed to contribute to a national human-rights report.

She went missing in mid-September after authorities prevented her from flying to Geneva for a rights training programme. She was formally arrested in October on suspicion of "picking quarrels and provoking troubles", Human Rights in China said.

The watchdog group had quoted her lawyer last month as saying she suffered from tuberculosis, liver disease and other conditions. Medical parole had been denied until she was seriously ill.

Wang Yu, Cao's lawyer, said that Cao's younger brother planned to sue the Chaoyang district Detention Centre in Beijing, where Cao was being held, for its "criminal acts" in refusing to give Cao medical treatment, resulting in her malnutrition and deterioration in health.

Hundreds of activists along with Cao had urged officials to reply to their requests to participate in drafting a national human-rights report ahead of the country's Universal Periodic Review by the UN in October.

Cao had been at the forefront of efforts to take part in the process to join the Universal Periodic Review since 2008.