mandag 15. juli 2019

Death of 'barefoot lawyer' puts focus on China's treatment of political prisoners

In June, Ji Sizun received the news that he had won a prestigious human rights distinction, the Cao Shunli Memorial Award, in honour of the veteran Chinese activist who died in 2014 in police custody, after being denied needed medical treatment for months. It would be a little more than one month until he himself died while under the watch of state security.

Ji, one of China’s most prominent “barefoot lawyers”, self-taught legal advocates, spent most of the last decade in prison in his native Fujian province.He was in a semi-comatose state when he finished his most recent sentence of four and a half years in late April and was immediately sent to a hospital. On 10 July, two months after leaving prison, Ji, 69, died of unknown causes.

He joins a growing list of imprisoned political activists who have died after being denied adequate medical treatment. His death came three days before the two year anniversary of the death of Chinese Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo. Last month, a Uighur writer Nurmuhammad Tohti died after being detained in an internment camp in Xinjiang.