Corruption in China

Dissident jailed as another dies after release

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 14 July, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 14 July, 2007, 12:00am

Groups report on fate of activists

A mainland court has sentenced veteran dissident Zhu Yufu to two years in jail for assaulting police while a long-time Shanghai activist, Chen Xiaoming, has died from a chronic illness made worse by abusive treatment in prison, rights groups said yesterday.

A Hangzhou court handed down the sentence on Zhu, a pro-democracy activist who once sought to found an opposition party, for assaulting police and preventing them from carrying out their duties, the Chinese Human Rights Defenders network said in a statement.

His son was also sentenced to a year in jail, suspended for 18 months, on the same charges.

Zhu claimed police assaulted his son after stopping the pair in May while the officers were seeking to locate another activist.

He claimed his son accidentally bumped an officer as he was being wrestled to the ground. Zhu then pushed an officer away from his son to prevent a further beating.

The rights group said the two-year jail term for Zhu was unusually harsh and called it political persecution, given his past history of activism.

Chen, who protested against urban evictions in Shanghai, died on July 1 following heavy bleeding just hours after authorities released him from jail on medical parole, New York-based Human Rights in China and a friend said.

The authorities detained Chen and others in February last year after they met a United States consulate official at an individual's home.

Chen was sentenced to two years in prison early this year for disturbing court proceedings, stemming from his participation in the trial of another activist in 2004.

Relatives say Chen suffered from a chronic illness, hepatitis B, but earlier requests to seek medical parole and to take him medication were rejected. He was initially held in a secret location then transferred to a prison in Anhui province after his sentencing.

A friend said Chen suffered from the illness for several years, but he was able to keep it under control with regular medical check-ups.

After his detention and jailing, he was deprived of adequate medical treatment.

After his condition worsened, Chen was transferred to Shanghai's Tilanqiao Prison hospital last month and then released to a local hospital on medical parole.

Human Rights in China said in a statement that his family members, who were finally able to visit him, 'found Chen reduced to a skeletal condition, constantly vomiting blood and barely conscious'.

'There are also indications that ill treatment and beatings in prison were major factors in Chen's death.'

Prison officials could not be reached for comment.