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Liaoyang Activist Xiao Yunliang’s Health Deteriorates in Prison

March 20, 2003

For Immediate Release

Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned that labor activist Xiao Yunliang is suffering deteriorating health in custody and has begun spitting blood. Xiao’s family and fellow activists have petitioned authorities on his behalf, but so far without effect.

Xiao Yunliang remains in custody in the Liaoyang Municipal Detention Center with fellow activist Yao Fuxin. Xiao and Yao were tried in January on sedition charges relating to massive demonstrations they organized last year protesting the treatment of workers laid off from the bankrupt Liaoyang Ferro-Alloy Factory. Up to now the result of the trial has not been disclosed.

Sources told HRIC that recently Xiao has had several serious episodes of spitting blood, believed to be caused by a contagious disease or else as a result of brutal treatment inside the detention center. Xiao’s condition has become a matter of deep concern to his wife, Su Anhua, as well as Yao Fuxin’s wife, Guo Xiujing, and other worker representatives.

On March 20th at 9:30 in the morning, Su and Guo, accompanied by more than 20 worker representatives, went to the Liaoyang Municipal Government offices and asked for a meeting with top officials. Some other worker representatives, such as Wang Zhaoming, wanted to join the delegation, but were forced to stay at home by public security police anxious to prevent a large gathering. A reception official told the group that no senior officials were present, and offered to relay a message. Su Anhua and the others passed on two requests: 1) Having learned that Xiao Yunliang was spitting blood, they wanted an opportunity to visit Xiao Yunliang and Yao Fuxin; 2) Xiao and Yao had already been held too long without a judgment, and should be released as soon as possible. The family and activists have decided to wait a reasonable amount of time for an official response, but if none is forthcoming they intend to take their petition to Beijing.

HRIC expresses its deep concern over the reports of Xiao Yunliang’s condition, and calls on Chinese officials to look seriously into the matter. HRIC president Liu Qing notes, “Xiao should receive the appropriate medical treatment as soon as possible. If his condition is related to physical abuse in prison, someone should be made accountable.” HRIC also repeats its earlier call for the Chinese government to release Yao and Xiao, who are guilty of nothing more than exercising their basic human rights to peacefully assemble and express their views.

For more information, contact:
Stacy Mosher (English) 212-268-9074
Liu Qing (Chinese) 212-239-4495