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Cao Shunli Ill in Detention, Refuses to Sign Official Arrest Document

October 31, 2013

Lawyer Wang Yu (王宇) met with detained rights defender Cao Shunli (曹顺利) for more than an hour on Wednesday, October 30. Wang, who has been retained by Cao’s family to represent Cao, was the first person outside law enforcement who has had any contact with Cao since her disappearance on September 14.

According to Wang, Cao was very thin and looked very unwell. Wang understood that from May to August this year, Cao was suffering from liver disease, so serious that she was accumulating fluid in her abdomen. Cao was planning to get a thorough check up and treatment on her overseas trip.  Cao told her that food was particularly bad in the Chaoyang Detention Center, and because she did not have medications and treatment in detention, her condition has deteriorated.

Cao also told Wang that on October 21, the authorities asked her to sign an official arrest document charging her with “picking quarrels and provoking troubles” (寻衅滋事罪), but she refused to sign. Cao also said that the authorities at the Chaoyang Detention Center once told her that they had tried contacting her family, but no one ever picked up the phone.

Wang said she will request medical treatment for Cao and seek her release on bail.

Cao was disappeared from the Beijing Airport on September 14 en route to Geneva to attend a human rights training session. She had spent years seeking civil society participation in China’s international reporting on its human rights progress. Her disappearance gained the attention of international authorities, including independent UN experts and the EU’s High Representative of Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, who both issued urgent statements of concern earlier this month urging the Chinese authorities to account for Cao’s whereabouts.


For more information on Cao Shunli, see: