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Dissident Zhao Changqing Back in Solitary Confinement

April 11, 2006

Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned that imprisoned dissident Zhao Changqing has again been placed in solitary confinement after refusing to participate in military drills in prison.

HRIC previously reported that last December Zhao had been placed in solitary confinement for more than 40 days after he refused to sing a socialist anthem during the prison’s flag-raising ceremony. Sources in China told HRIC that more recently, Zhao’s elder brother went to visit him in the Shaanxi Province No. 2 Prison, but was refused access on the grounds that Zhao had been placed in solitary confinement again on February 18. Prison guards reportedly said that Zhao was “stubbornly maintaining his incorrect attitude” and had argued with a corrections officer, and for that reason had been placed in solitary confinement for three months.

On April 10, Zhao’s younger sister telephoned prison officials to inquire after Zhao’s situation. She was reportedly told that Zhao was still in solitary confinement because of his unwillingness to accept prison procedures and because he had been in contact with some Falun Gong practitioners who had also been placed in solitary confinement.

Zhao’s family members are deeply concerned about Zhao’s medical condition, given that he was formerly treated for tuberculosis. They claim he has only received one medical examination since being imprisoned three years ago.

Zhao Changqing was detained for more than four months after participating in the 1989 democracy movement. He was imprisoned again for three years in 1998 after accusing local officials of corruption and violating the constitution. In November 2002, he was detained in connection to his participation in an open letter to the 16th National People’s Congress that was signed by nearly 200 intellectuals across China. Zhao was convicted of “incitement to subvert state power” and sentenced to five years imprisonment in August 2003.