Lawyers' Meeting With Jailed Chinese Activist Cut Short by Guards


2016-05-06
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china-activists-guo-feixiong-may5-2016.jpg Five activists hold up placards in support of jailed rights activist Guo Feixiong in Beijing, May 5, 2016.
Photo courtesy of an activist

Authorities in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong cut short a meeting between jailed rights activist Guo Feixiong and his lawyer on Friday, amid growing fears for Guo's health.

Two of Guo's legal team were rudely cut short by prison guards, two minutes after they had sat down to speak to him in detention, Guo's sister Yang Maoping told RFA.

The lawyers also called on prison authorities to transfer Guo to a provincial hospital for emergency medical treatment and further tests, and to make the results of such tests public, she said.

Yang, who is a doctor, has previously told RFA that her brother suffers from intermittent bloody or watery stools, as well as occasional bleeding in the mouth and throat, and suffered a hemorrhage on April 19.

She said he is unsteady on his feet and has been denied medical tests to establish the cause of his bleeding.

She has also said she fears Guo's life may be at risk.

Adequate medical care

The cancellation of the lawyers' visit comes as international rights groups called on the Chinese government to allow Guo to receive adequate medical care.

"The Chinese authorities should immediately ensure two critics of the government whose health is deteriorating have immediate access to adequate medical care," the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a statement on its website.

"The denial of medical care amounts to cruel and inhuman treatment in violation of the United Nations Convention Against Torture to which China is a party," the group said.

Guo, also known by his birth name Yang Maodong, received a visit from his sister Yang Maoping in Yangchun Prison in southern China’s Guangdong Province on Tuesday.

He was sentenced last November for "picking quarrels and stirring up trouble" and "gathering a crowd to disrupt social order" after a prolonged period in pretrial detention where he was held alone in a closet-size cell and denied access to the exercise yard for nearly two years.

"Chinese officials are earning an ugly reputation over their willingness to let political prisoners get terribly sick – and even die – in detention," HRW China director Sophie Richardson said.

Dozens of activists across China on Tuesday announced a relay hunger strike to protest Guo's lack of medical treatment.

"We do this in protest at the disregard by Yangchun Prison authorities for Guo Feixiong's right to life, and their mistreatment of him," the activists said in a declaration that had garnered 63 names on Tuesday.

"We call on the authorities to allow Guo Feixiong timely access to reasonable and effective medical treatment, according to law," it said.

Gao Yu update

Meanwhile, HRW said veteran journalist Gao Yu is facing similar difficulties amid deteriorating health, despite having been released to "serve sentence outside jail."

Gao was handed a five-year jail term, reduced from seven years, for allegedly leaking an internal Chinese Communist Party document calling for greater censorship of liberal ideas.

She was released on medical parole last November but remains under tight police surveillance.

She has no income to meet her own medical costs, and promised medical insurance and other benefits have failed to materialize.

Gao, who has a history of cardiovascular disease, was recently found to have an abnormal lymph node growth that has the potential to be malignant, HRW said.

She has suffered repeated heart attacks, but authorities have denied her permission to seek medical treatment in Germany despite her having a valid visa for travel.

Reported by Wen Yuqing for RFA's Cantonese Service, and by Yang Fan for the Mandarin Service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.

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