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Medical parole for union leaders denied
The Epoch Times
1/3/2004



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While in prison, the health of China’s Liaoyang City labor movement leaders Yao Fuxin and Xiao Liangyun has recently deteriorated. Given the leaders’ medical conditions, their relatives applied for parole, but the application was denied by the local government. Human rights organizations have condemned the Chinese government for breaking its own prison laws.

According to a BBC report, Yao and Xiao led workers in Liaoyang City in appealing to the local government, and requesting a resolution to longstanding problems like corruption, which have caused the loss of workers’ jobs, salaries, retirement pensions and medical fees. It is said that over 10,000 people joined in the protest. As a result, Yao and Xiao were arrested for “illegally assembling and protesting,” and were sentenced to seven and four years in prison, respectively, for “conspiring to overthrow the state.”

According to a New York-based human rights organization, Human Rights in China (HRIC), both of the leaders were immediately sent to a “strict control unit,” where they are under 24-hour surveillance. People inside the prison said that currently both of them are very sick. Yao had two heart attacks in Jinzhou Prison. He is suffering from hearing loss, the right side of his body is paralyzed and he has sores all over his body. Xiao also has heart problems, pleurisy, blindness in his right eye, poor visibility in the left and has fluid retention throughout his body.

Liu Qing, Chairman of Human Rights in China said, “According to China’s prison law, ‘Any prisoner has the right to get parole for medial reasons or to go back home for medical treatment if the prison’s conditions are not suitable for their health or good enough for recovery from the illness.’” But when relatives of Yao applied to prison authorities for parole, the application was rejected because, “Yao’s case is special and parole does not apply to him.” At the same time they also denied Xiao parole.

Human Rights in China strongly condemned this “sentencing and torture of Yao and Xiao, especially since the rejection of parole for medical reasons is against China’s prison laws.”

The arrest and sentencing of Yao and Xiao has aroused a large amount of concern in the international community. Human Rights Watch, a human rights organization in New York, has appealed to the International Labor Organization (ILO) and requested that they get involved. The U.S. State Department also mentioned this case in a human rights dialogue with China.

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