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Chinese Activists Detained While Demanding Release of Ailing Dissident

A group of Chinese activists has been detained after visiting a Beijing hospital to demand the release of ailing dissident Cao Shunli.

About 30 activists and petitioners were detained Monday after visiting the hospital to demand her freedom. Police questioned all of the activists for several hours before releasing most of them. But three were formally detained for disturbing public order.

The activists say her medical condition worsened dramatically in a Beijing detention center because of a lack of medical treatment. Cao, who is said to be in a coma, was transferred recently to a Beijing hospital.

Her lawyer, Wang Yu, accuses detention center guards of refusing to give Cao her medication for liver disease.

“I am suspicious that the government has been shirking its responsibility in the whole process. Before, my request for a bail hearing was not allowed," she said. "Then, after she became so ill that she was hospitalized, they eagerly gave her a bail hearing. Therefore, I think they are avoiding taking responsibility."

Cao was detained at the Beijing International Airport in September as she was preparing to travel to Geneva to participate in human rights training.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Mandarin service.