Beijing-based religious activist Hua Huiqi told Human Rights in China (HRIC) that his imprisoned 77-year-old mother, Shuang Shuying, has been denied medical parole. Shuang suffers from high blood pressure and diabetes.
Detained in February this year, Shuang has served nearly eight months of her two-year sentence for “intentional damage of property.” Given Shuang’s frail health and need for regular medication, Hua Huiqi submitted a request for medical parole on August 22 to the No. 11 Unit of the Beijing Women’s Prison, where Shuang is currently held. On September 11, a prison official telephoned Hua and said that medical parole had been denied on the grounds that Shuang did not meet the health conditions for medical parole, and that she had not yet served one third of her sentence.
The prison official reportedly also told Hua that his mother did not want to receive any visits from family members for the time being, and that requests to visit her would be denied.
HRIC previously reported that police officers had visited Hua Huiqi in early August and promised to take him to visit Shuang Shuying if he agreed to provide information on people who came to his home. A police officer reportedly indicated that Shuang could be released at any time at the Public Security Bureau’s discretion if Hua cooperated with the authorities, but that if Hua refused to cooperate, he might never see his mother again. Hua Huiqi refused to become a police informant.
After HRIC reported the incident, Hua says, several police officers came to his house and told him that he should not hope for his troubles to go away just because an overseas human rights organization had spoken up for him. “Whenever we want to mess with you, you will have no means of escape,” Hua recalls the police officers telling him, as well as warning him not to have further contact with overseas human rights organizations.
Hua Huiqi and Shuang Shuying attempted to petition the National People’s Congress on January 26, 2007, over the forcible clearance of their home, but were detained that same day and harshly beaten by police officers of the PSB’s Asian Games Village division. Hua was formally arrested on February 8, and in June was sentenced to six months in prison for “obstructing official business.” Meanwhile, Shuang was arrested while protesting Hua’s detention, and on February 26, she was sentenced to two years in prison and a fine of 5,000 yuan (US$625) for “intentional damage of property.” Hua Huiqi was released on July 25 upon completion of his sentence. Family members have only been allowed to visit Shuang once, on July 20, in spite of repeated requests. Shuang’s husband received a notice earlier this week that he would be allowed to visit his wife.
HRIC is deeply concerned over the reported police intimidation of Hua Huiqi, and the ongoing harassment of Hua and his elderly mother, Shuang Shuying, and urges the international community to speak out on their behalf. HRIC has long reported on the plight of petitioners like Hua Huiqi and Shuang Shuying, and deplores the government’s use of minor offenses to punish petitioners and deter them from exercising their rights to freedom of expression under international law, and to petition the government under domestic law. HRIC strongly urges the Chinese authorities to grant medical parole to Shuang in accordance with relevant regulations that provide for special consideration to be given to the elderly, regardless of the proportion of time served.
For additional recent press releases relating to Hua Huiqi and Shuang Shuying, see:
“Activist’s Mother ‘Held Hostage’ for Information,” August 17, 2007, http://www.hrichina.org/public/contents/44569;
“Elderly Activist Ill in Prison, Denied Family Visits,” June 22, 2007, http://www.hrichina.org/public/contents/42693.