The mental health of Inner Mongolian dissident Hada, who is being held under de facto house arrest after 15 years in jail, is deteriorating and he has been denied medical treatment, according to rights groups and relatives.
Hada, in his mid-50s, is severely withdrawn and has psychological problems while under extrajudicial detention since his release from prison in December 2010, his son Uiles told the New York-based Human Rights in China (HRIC).
Now one of China’s longest-held dissidents, Hada was imprisoned on charges of “separatism” and “espionage.”
“Being locked up for 17 years has ravaged his body and mind,” Uiles told HRIC based on one of his mother Xinna’s latest visits to Hada, who is being held at the Jinye Ecological Park near the international airport in the regional capital, Hohhot.
“My mother said that he has become really paranoid and has mental problems," Uiles said in a Jan. 5 statement translated by HRIC.
He said that when he visited his father recently, Hada did not speak to him. “I tried to soothe him, but he scolded me.”
Warned not to speak out
Chinese authorities have pressured his family and relatives not to speak to human rights groups or international media outlets about his condition.
The Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC), a U.S.-based group which monitors the family’s situation, has been unable to reach Xinna or Uiles since Xinna was allowed a rare, week-long visit with her husband earlier this month.
But the two had told SHMRIC last month that Hada’s mental state was crumbling, SMHRIC director Enhebatu Togochog said.
“When we last talked to Xinna and Uiles a month ago they mentioned his deteriorating health and mental status,” he said.
Xinna said that Hada didn’t want to move out of bed, and was sluggish and inactive, Togochog said.
“Since he has been in jail for almost 18 years, I think it’s understandable or would make sense that his mental status would deteriorate,” Togochog said.
In October, Xinna told RFA in an interview that Hada was suffering from paranoia.
"He is closed in on himself, and suffering from paranoia…. He says someone is trying to poison him, but I am guessing it is because of all the pressure he is under."
'No legal basis'
Relatives said Hada had also suffered a host of health problems while in detention, such as stomach ulcer, coronary heart disease, and rheumarthritis.
Hada was arrested in 1995 for his activism advocating for greater autonomy for China’s 6 million ethnic Mongolians.
His sentence also contained an additional four years' "deprivation of political rights," which, under China’s Criminal Law, includes restrictions on voting, as well as freedom of speech and association.
Authorities say they are keeping him under house arrest because he and his family will not “cooperate” and stop speaking out his case, but the extrajudicial detention has “no legal basis,” Togochog said.
“We continue to urge the Chinese government to free him immediately and give freedom to his family members immediately and unconditionally,” Togochog said.
Reported by Rachel Vandenbrink.