Human Rights in China has learned that the health of He Depu (何德普) continues to deteriorate in Beijing No. 2 Prison, and urges the Chinese authorities to release him so the veteran dissident can obtain badly needed medical treatment.
Sources in China informed Human Rights in China that He told his family, during a March 27 visit, that many inmates suffer from malnutrition and health problems. In 2007 alone, five inmates died from illness, and inmates have been deprived of meat, fresh vegetables, and adequate outdoor exercise for an extended period of time.
He Depu himself suffers from ear problems that have rendered him almost completely deaf, as well as from high blood pressure. Prison officials reportedly told He’s family in February that they could bring in a medical specialist to treat He; during the March 27 visit, however, they advised the family they could no longer do so, and that He could easily be treated by the prison doctor. He has not yet seen the doctor, and the family is concerned that his serious condition will remain untreated.
"As the Olympic torch, a symbol of peace and respect for human dignity, begins its world relay, the international community cannot forget the human dignity of the individuals like He locked away in China’s prisons," said Human Rights in China Executive Director Sharon Hom.
Human Rights in China is deeply concerned by these recent reports of the ongoing failure of prison authorities to ensure that He obtains the medical treatment he requires, and appeals to the Chinese authorities to grant the request of He’s family for medical parole.
He Depu is a veteran dissident who participated in the Democracy Wall Movement in 1979, the democracy movement in 1989, and the signature campaign for Wang Dan from 1993 to 1995. He also established a magazine, Beijing Youth, and in 1998 helped form the banned China Democracy Party. He Depu was detained on November 4, 2002, after signing an open letter to the 16th Party Congress calling for political reform. On November 6, 2003, he was sentenced to eight years in prison and two years' subsequent deprivation of political rights for "inciting subversion of state power." He has repeatedly suffered abuse while in detention. In September 2007, HRIC learned that prison authorities had threatened to deprive He of family visits after his wife, Jia Jianying (贾建英), revealed the poor prison conditions under which he was living, which were reported on by overseas media. In February 2008, Jia appealed to the prison authorities to release him for medical care.
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