By BosNewsLife Asia Service
BEIJING, CHINA (BosNewsLife)– Christian rights activists on Friday, July 7, condemned China’s decision to refuse jailed Christian housing activist Ni Yulan medical parole, despite suffering from “serious health problems” including an untreated thyroid tumor.
Wheelchair-bound Ni Yulan, 52, was sentenced in April 2012 to a two-year prison term following her conviction on charges of “fraud” and “causing a disturbance” by the Xicheng District People’s Court. The sentence was later reduced by two months.
Her husband, former schoolteacher Dong Jiqin, was also convicted of creating a disturbance and was handed a two-year term.
Ni and Dong were detained amid a nationwide round-up of dissidents and rights activists following online calls for a pro-democracy “Jasmine Revolution”, inspired by the 2011 Arab Spring protests in the Middle East.
Beijing authorities had earlier revoked Ni’s business license because of her legal advocacy work on behalf of the capital’s residents evicted to make way for development linked to the 2008 Olympic Games.
Ni’s daughter Dong Xuan said the family had applied for medical parole after she was told by prison authorities in October that there were no adequate medical facilities to treat a growth in her thyroid gland.
“The tumor in her thyroid is now as large as an egg, and it keeps growing,” Dong said in an interview distributed by Radio Free Asia. “My mother…can’t sleep at night, and I am concerned that the tumor may be malevolent.”
“If we leave it any longer, it may be that it will be too late to treat,” she said.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), which closely followed the case, “is deeply concerned at the Chinese authorities’ refusal to grant medical parole to Ni Yulan,” said CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas in a statement to BosNewsLife.
Ni is scheduled to be released in October, but her daughter said the appeal paperwork need to be sped up. “My mother is now scheduled to be transferred to a women’s prison, but the required paper work has been postponed for so long, even her lawyer cannot see her,” she explained.
“Now my mom worries that if this drags on, the time for the effectiveness of the appeal might be over. She asked me to contact the lawyer again.”
Ni is wheelchair-bound as the result of alleged torture by police, and suffers various other health problems, Christian rights activists said.
Her plight was raised internationally. In December 2011 Ni was awarded the Dutch Government’s Tulip Award for Human Rights Defenders following her nomination by Christian rights groups CSW and China Aid Association (CAA), another ad. Her daughter, who planned to attend the ceremony on her behalf, was stopped at the airport en route to Amsterdam and prevented from attending, organizers said.
“CSW believes that Ni has been detained for her defense of basic rights and that the charges brought against Ni are unjust,” explained Thomas. “In light of her deteriorating condition, CSW calls on the Chinese government to grant her access to appropriate medical care. In addition, we urge the government to review her case without further delay.”
Chinese officials had no immediate comment, but China’s government has in the past denied human rights abuses.
(BosNewsLife, the first truly independent news agency covering persecuted Christians, is ‘Breaking the News for Compassionate Professionals’ since 2004).
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