Monday, June 28, 2004

Imprisoned Liaoyang workers : Appeal for Medical Parole

China Labour Bulletin has learned that both Yao Fuxin and Xiao Yunliang, now in their second year of imprisonment, are in extremely poor health and that Xiao Yunliang in particular is in a critical condition.

China Labour Bulletin is calling upon trade unions worldwide to ask the Chinese authorities for the urgent release of both men on medical parole.

In May, the family of Xiao Yunliang discovered that Xiao's health had further deteriorated. In addition to his blindness, his family found that his stomach and his face were swollen, to the extent that his stomach was rigid to the touch - symptomatic of kidney or liver disease. His face was swollen with his eyes and lips abnormally reddish. His stomach has now swelled to such an extent that he has difficulty in sleeping, breathing and eating.

On 2 June 2004, after many months of requests and pleas for improved medical care Xiao Yunliang, accompanied by his family, was sent to the Shenyang China Medical University No. 2 Hospital. While at the hospital Xiao underwent various examinations. It was found that in addition to blindness, he also had arteriosclerosis of the aorta (hardening of the arteries to and from the heart), liver & gallbladder stones and chronic superficial gastritis - a possible symptom of other more threatening diseases.

Despite this welcome medical examination, no medicine was given and examinations of his kidney and lungs were refused. Instead the family bought some liver medicine separately and gave this to Xiao Yunliang - despite national regulations outlining the duty of prison authorities to undertake financial and moral responsibility for medical treatment of prisoners in their care.

Yao Fuxin remains in a life-threatening situation despite some stabilization in his condition. He suffers from intermittent heart failure and given his previous heart problems and high blood pressure another heart attack is highly likely. He continues to lose consciousness regularly because of the high blood pressure and has lost much of the use of his right leg which has now begun to turn black. He has also lost hearing in his right ear due to an injury sustained on his detention in 2002.

Denial of Treatment and Denial of Freedom

It is believed that political pressure is being brought to bear upon the prison authorities to continue refusing proper medical care, examinations and follow-up treatment. Both families are now desperately seeking help for the men's release. No formal response has been given to the family's repeated applications for medical parole.

The families of both men formally applied for medical parole on 29 Oct 2003. Workers at the Ferro-Alloy Factory also wrote appeals for medical parole to various government departments. So far neither family has received any formal response. Contrary to Chinese law, Xiao's family was instead informed by the head of Lingyuan Prison that as Xiao Yunliang did not have an incurable disease he could not be given medical parole.

Again contrary to Chinese law, which makes no explicit reference to criminals charged with "subversion", the family of Yao Fuxin was informed by a senior Liaoyang PSB officer that medical parole was out of the question because criminals charged with "subversion" did not qualify and that Yao Fuxin had failed to admit his crimes and his "attitude" was not good enough.

In May when Xiao's family once again asked for urgent medical care the prison replied that they had no ability to give him medical treatment without the authority of the Liaoyang Politics and law Committee. Indeed, the family of Xiao Yunliang is now being asked to apply in advance to the Liaoyang Politics and Law Committee each time they go for a visit.

Dismissal of appeals in Beijing: Forced Return

The wives of both men have recently been forcibly returned from Beijing after futile attempts to raise the case of their husbands with the central authorities and ask for a retrial.

For more information on recent events please see our full update

CLB is calling on the international trade union movement to support the two detainees and their families and urge the authorities to comply with Chinese law and release them on medical parole.

Please sign and send an email to the authorities by clicking on the link below.

Release the Liaoyang Two

Alternatively you can send your own appeals to the Minister of Justice at the address below:

Minister of Justice
Zhang Fusen
10 Chaoyangmen Nandajie
Beijingshi 100020
People's Republic of China

Please note that email addresses in China sometimes only work intermittently and may be shut down to avoid receiving mass email. Please be patient or send letters by post.

By Chinese Labour Bulletin 28 June 04