Chinese Rights Lawyer 'Forcibly Medicated' in Prison: Family

china-jiang4-062718.jpg Imprisoned Chinese rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong is shown in a file photo.

Jailed Chinese human rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong is being forced to take an "unidentified medicine" in prison, according to his U.S.-based wife.

Last week, Jiang's father Jiang Lianghou visited his son in the Henan No. 2 Prison, where he is serving a two-year jail term  imprisonment after pleading guilty to "incitement to subvert state power" at what his family said was a show trial.

The elder Jiang, who is himself under continuous surveillance by China's state security police, arrived at the prison on Friday, his second visit since his son was transferred there from a police-run detention center in April.

He reported back on "terrible" conditions at the jail, with Jiang only allowed to take his allotted exercise in the corridors, not in the open air, Jiang's wife Jin Bianling told RFA.

Jiang is also being prevented from buying basic necessities using funds topped up by his family for that purpose, and from receiving clothing parcels from his relatives, she said.

But most worrying of all is that prison guards are forcing him to take an unidentified medication twice daily, and his memory has deteriorated considerably as a result, Jin said.

"He has to take medication twice a day," she said. "When [his father] asked what the medication was, he said he didn't know."

"His father felt that there was a marked deterioration in his memory," Jin said.

Signs of torture

Earlier, when the elder Jiang was making his first visit to the jail, he noticed that the metal chair his son was sitting on was fixed to the floor, and had manacles attached to it.

"His legs were red and swollen, and the prison guard stopped the visit immediately after that," she said.

Jin has previously said she believes that Jiang has been tortured while in detention.

"I have made a freedom of information request to the Henan Jail, asking them to make public the name and dosage of the medication that Jiang is taking," she said.

"I also want them to furnish me with a copy of Jiang's physical examination results," she said.

Liu Xinglian of the China Human Rights Observer, who has served prison time himself, said it is not uncommon for prisoners to be medicated by the authorities.

"Yes, this really does happen. I spent nine months in prison, and I was forced to take large doses of medication, the names of which I didn't know," Liu said.

"This medication destroyed my health. They are out to destroy dissidents," he said. "They are utterly without humanity."

Others force-fed, too

Amnesty International China researcher Patrick Poon said Jiang is one among many rights lawyers detained in a nationwide crackdown since July 2015 who have been force-fed medication.

"Rights lawyers in the July 2015 crackdown, Li Heping for example, were given unidentified medication when they were in detention, too," Poon told RFA. "I call on the Chinese government to cease its torture and inhumane treatment of Jiang Tianyong."

Jiang's sentence was based on his setting up of a campaign group in support of rights lawyers detained in a nationwide police operation targeting the profession since July 2015, the prosecution said during his trial.

Jiang had "speculated" on politically sensitive cases and "incited others to illegally gather in public places" and "stirred up" public opinion, the indictment said.

He had also "seriously harmed state security and social stability" by "attacking and slandering the current political system, and attempting to overthrow the socialist system," it found.

Ruthless campaign

London-based rights group Amnesty International said in its 2017 annual report that the administration of President Xi Jinping has pursued a "ruthless campaign of arbitrary arrests, detention, imprisonment and torture and other ill-treatment of human rights lawyers and activists."

It said the authorities are continuing with the widespread use of "residential surveillance in a designated location."

It has been used to curb the activities of human rights defenders, including lawyers, activists, and religious practitioners, the group said.

Reported by Ng Yik-tung and Wong Lok-to for RFA's Cantonese Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.


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