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Press Advisory: Open Letter Received Urging President Bush to Raise Case of Jailed Democracy Activist

October 31, 2005

Human Rights in China (HRIC) has received a copy of an open letter requesting that President George W. Bush take advantage of his upcoming visit to China to bring up the case of Wang Sen, a democracy and Internet activist reportedly in critical health following his conviction on state security charges in 2002.

Wang was sentenced to ten years in prison on charges of incitement to subvert state power on May 30, 2002, after he posted reports on the Internet that a medical center in the southwestern city of Dachun was selling tuberculosis medicine donated by the International Red Cross at an inflated price. A leader of the Sichuan branch of the China Democracy Party, Wang had also joined with others to help steel workers organize a protest demanding unpaid wages in December 2000. HRIC’s sources say Wang’s health has suffered greatly in detention due to lack of treatment for diabetes.

The open letter, signed by 42 dissidents and their families in Chuanyu District, Sichuan Province, urges President Bush to raise Wang’s case with high level officials and advocate his release on medical parole. Wang’s family has repeatedly requested medical parole, available under Article 17 of the Prison Law for serious illness, but their requests have been denied.

HRIC urges President Bush to use his visit as an opportunity to raise urgent detention cases, including Wang’s case and raise his seriously deteriorating health as a human rights issue of concern. HRIC also urges the Chinese authorities to grant the UN Special Rapporteur, whose visit is also scheduled for November, full and unimpeded access to prisons and prisoners, including those such as Wang Sen who suffer under conditions detrimental to their health.

The full text of the open letter is appended to the Chinese version of this press advisory.

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