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Rights Activist Cao Shunli in Intensive Care

February 20, 2014

Human Rights in China received information that rights activist Cao Shunli (曹顺利), who has been in custody since September 2013 and suffering from various medical conditions, was in intensive care at the Beijing Qinghe 999 Hospital earlier today. She was later transferred to the 309 Military Hospital in Haidian District.

Liu Xiaofang (刘晓芳), an activist who worked with Cao, told HRIC that when she visited Cao at the Qinghe 999 Hospital, Cao was on a ventilator and barely responsive.

Cao was disappeared from the Beijing Airport on September 14 en route to Geneva to attend a training session for NGOs on United Nations human rights mechanisms. Her disappearance drew expressions of concern from high-level international authorities, including independent UN experts and the EU’s High Representative of Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. Cao was formally arrested in October on suspicion of “picking quarrels and provoking troubles” (寻衅滋事) and has been held in the Chaoyang Detention Center in Beijing.

Cao’s lawyer Wang Yu (王宇) told HRIC that Cao’s brother, Cao Yunli (曹云立), received a call this morning from a Director Wang of the Chaoyang Detention Center, telling him to start an application for medical parole for his sister. Wang said she believes that the detention center wants to avoid responsibility by releasing Cao.

“When I took on Cao Shunli’s case, I found out that she was suffering from tuberculosis, liver disease, and other serious health conditions. I've requested medical parole in writing, orally, and over the phone. It is only now when her life is in danger that the detention center has finally agreed to release her on medical parole,” Wang said. “The detention center sees human lives as child’s play.”

Wang had said previously that, in her meeting with Cao in October 2013, Cao told her that the food was particularly bad in the detention center, and because she did not have medications and treatment in detention, her condition had deteriorated.

Before being taken into custody, Cao had spent years seeking civil society participation in China’s international reporting on its human rights progress.

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