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Release Yao Fuxin on Medical Parole!

Wu Aiying,
Minister of Justice
10 Nandajie,
Chaoyangmen, Chaoyang District,
Beijing 100020,
People's Republic of China
Email: minister@legalinfo.gov.cn

Cc: Wang Zhaoguo,
Chairman of All-China Federation of Trade Unions
10 Fuxingmenwai Street,
Beijing 100865,
People's Republic of China
Emails: bgt@acftu.org.cn, gjllb@acftu.org.cn, acftuild@public3.bta.net.cn

Dear Minister Wu Aiying,

I am writing to express my deep concern at the continued imprisonment of seriously ill labour activist from Liaoyang, Yao Fuxin, and I respectfully urge you to order his immediate release on compassionate medical grounds. Yao suffers from heart disease and high blood pressure.

The workers' leader was sentenced to seven years in prison on 9 May 2003 on charges of subversion. He and another labour activist Xiao Yunliang were detained after leading peaceful worker demonstrations in Liaoyang City, Liaoning Province, in northeastern China in March 2002. At that time, thousands of workers from more than 20 factories in the city rallied against corruption among local officials and demanded a basic living allowance for laid-off workers, fulfilment of pension programme, and payment of wages long in arrears.

Yao Fuxin, 54, suffers from seriously high blood pressure, and since October 2003 has collapsed several times in prison due to brief and intermittent heart seizures. He has lost much of the use of his right leg after an earlier injury remained untreated, resulting in numbness and dark discolouration of the limb. He has also lost hearing in his right ear due to an injury sustained when police first detained him in March 2002.

According to PRC Criminal Procedure Law (Article 214), a prisoner "may be permitted to temporarily serve his sentence outside prison if the criminal is seriously ill and needs to be released on parole for medical treatment." Despite repeated requests by his family for medical care and parole and despite the clear legal basis for his release, medical parole has thus far been denied to Yao. As a result, he is now reportedly very ill, suffering from chronic illnesses which have not been successfully treated. Yao has not been given full and proper medical treatment needed for his illnesses while in prison, and his condition is deteriorating.

On pressing humanitarian grounds, I respectfully urge you to take all necessary action to order the immediate and unconditional release of Yao Fuxin or, failing that, that he be immediately released on medical parole, in accordance with PRC Criminal Procedure Law and relevant associated regulations, so that he may receive all necessary medical attention and treatment as a matter of urgency.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

Yours sincerely,