Human Rights in China (HRIC) welcomes the news that the German government has provided funding for necessary surgery for Three Gorges activist Fu Xiancai. Fu underwent surgery on June 18 for injuries he received in an attack on June 8 that left him paralyzed from the shoulders down. However, informed sources say it is likely that Fu will be permanently disabled as a result of his injuries.
Fu was unable to receive his time-sensitive surgery for more than a week after his attack because his family did not have the 60,000 yuan needed to pay for it. Fu was attacked by an unknown person on June 8 shortly after the Zigui Public Security Bureau questioned him about an interview with Fu broadcasted on Germany’s ARD television station. The attack followed a pattern of harassment and threats against Fu over the course of more than a year, sometimes reportedly involving individual Public Security Bureau officials. Fu is an active campaigner for the rights of people displaced by the Three Gorges Dam project in Hubei Province.
Sources in China told HRIC that Fu’s second, fifth, sixth and seventh vertebrae were injured in the attack, and the sixth was actually shattered. Sources said that Fu may be able to regain some use of his hands, but will probably remain confined to a wheelchair. Fu Xiancai is the sole breadwinner in his family, which includes two sons, the elder of whom is about to enter college.
HRIC urges the Chinese government, as one of the world’s great economic powers, to take responsibility for the health of its own citizens, and specifically to fulfill the promises of Chinese officials that Fu Xiancai would be given all necessary medical care. HRIC calls on the Chinese authorities to ensure that Fu Xiancai is provided with any disability subsidies for medical treatment and financial support authorized under Chinese law, and to carry out a thorough and transparent inquiry into his attack. HRIC also urges the international community to continue to monitor Fu Xiancai’s case, and to continue to advocate on his behalf so that Fu and his family receive the medical and financial support they require.