HONG KONG, April 19, 2004�A Chinese dissident jailed for posting articles on the Internet calling for a re-assessment of the Tiananmen Square crackdown is suffering from worsening health after repeated beatings and hunger strikes in jail, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reports.
Wang Jinbo, 32, was sentenced in December 2001 to four years' imprisonment for subversion by a court in the northern province of Shandong. His father recently applied for medical parole for Wang, he said in an interview.
"I went to visit Wang Jinbo on April 15," Wang's father Wang Xiuyu told RFA�s Mandarin service. "He looked quite feeble with a bad cough and complained about a constant fever."
Wang's father said his son had suffered physical abuse in both the detention center where he was held from May 2001 and in the Shandong No.1 Prison after the trial. The abuse took the form of beatings by other inmates, apparently encouraged by police. To protest the abuses Wang Jinbo has held hunger strikes many times, and his health has been deteriorating, his father said.
"They also deprived him of his right to make telephone call home and to have lunch with visiting family members," Wang Xiuyu said, adding that he had applied for medical parole for Wang on his most recent visit. "Those are two privileges even a convicted murderer can enjoy."
Wang Xiuyu said the abuses in custody had apparently come in retaliation for his son's defiant attitude towards his own conviction. Wang has protested his innocence from the first day of his arrest, continuing to write letters appealing his conviction and denouncing his treatment in the jail�every other month since his jail term began, his father said.
Wang's friend and fellow activist Che Hongnian confirmed Wang's father's account. "When Wang Jinbo was in the detention center before his sentencing, police once used fetters to bind his feet to the ground for as long as ten days as a punishment," Che told RFA.
Wang was formerly a member of the banned opposition China Democracy Party (CDP), and has been detained several times for his political activities. He was arrested in May 2001 and charged three months later with "inciting the subversion of state power.�
The Intermediate People�s Court in Linyi, Shandong Province tried him on Nov. 14, 2001.
The CDP was founded in Zhejiang Province in 1998 by a group of well-known dissidents who attempted to register the party through legal channels. The three core CDP activists were given sentences of between 11 and 13 years.
Two CDP founders, Xu Wenli and Wang Youcai have been released on medical parole and are in the United States, while the third co-founder Qin Yongmin is still serving a 12-year sentence for endangering state security in the central province of Hubei.
The Chinese authorities are thought to have detained dozens of people since the Internet boom began in the late 1990s, as part of its crackdown on online dissent.
While the government encourages Internet use for business and educational purposes it has set up a cyber-police force to monitor e-mail, Web page, and chatroom content for political opinions considered subversive by the Communist Party.
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