CHINESE LABOR ACTIVIST SEEKS MEDICAL PAROLE


2004-01-05
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Liu Jingsheng's health has deteriorated recently: rights group

A Chinese labor activist currently serving a 15-year jail term for organizing a pro-democracy political party has applied to the Chinese authorities for overseas medical parole, RFA's Mandarin service reports.

Beijing labor activist Liu Jingsheng applied to the authorities to go overseas to seek treatment for his deteriorating health condition, according to a statement from the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy in China issued Friday.

Liu, who has already served 11-and-a-half years of his sentence, helped China's most famous dissident, Wei Jingsheng, set up the magazine Exploration in 1979. Wei is currently exiled in the United States.

The 50-year-old Liu is a former worker at the Beijing Chemical Factory. He was arrested in 1992 together with former Beijing Foreign Languages Institute lecturer Hu Shigen and former Beijing Anding Hospital doctor Kang Yuchun and others, after they tried to set up an organization called the China Freedom and Democracy Party.

Liu received a sentence of 15 years for his involvement in the group, while Hu and Kang were given 20-year and 17-year sentences respectively.

China frequently allows activists who have served most of their sentence to go overseas, where the authorities judge they can do little to cause unrest back at home. Medical parole is the most common pretext for sending dissidents into exile.

Wei was freed and sent into exile in the United States in 1997 after spending the best part of 18 years in prison for his role in the 1979 Democracy Wall movement. #####

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