The Chinese government is using denial of medical treatment as a way of punishing critics, says Amnesty International, following the death of Cao Shunli in Beijing.
Ms Cao was a legal rights activist who was imprisoned for five months after trying to go to Geneva to attend a human rights training course. She died of organ failure on Friday at a hospital in Beijing, shortly after being released from five
months in detention.Her family say authorities rejected repeated request for Cao Shunli to
receive medical treatment for serious health problems. She had tuberculosis in both her lungs, cirrhosis of the liver and uterine fibroids.
Cao Shunli faced charges of
“picking quarrels and making trouble” after organizing a
sit-in protest along with other campaigners outside China’s Ministry of
Amnesty said the Chinese government should allow all detainees to access medical care, and the case of denying it to Cao Shuni was reprehensible.
"Cao Shunli's death exposes just how callous and calculating the Chinese
authorities are prepared to be to silence critics. The authorities
today have blood on their hands." said Anu Kultalahti, China Researcher
at Amnesty International.
"Cao Shunli was a courageous woman who paid the ultimate price for the
fight for human rights in China. She should have never been detained in
the first place; but to then deny her the medical treatment she
desperately needed is a most barbaric act.”
Her death has prompted criticism from the UK and US governments, but has not been reported in Chinese media. The Chinese government has made no comment on her case and blog and social media posts about Cao Shunli have been censored in China.