New York — Chinese authorities continue to deny medical treatment to political prisoners, including journalist in China, Tibet and other regions, the US based rights group Human Rights Watch says "Preventing access to adequate medical treatment is cruel, inhuman".
"The denial of medical care amounts to cruel and inhuman treatment in violation of the United Nations Convention Against Torture, to which China is a party," Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report, issued on Friday, May 6, 2016.
"The Chinese authorities should immediately ensure two critics of the government whose health is deteriorating have immediate access to adequate medical care," Human Rights Watch said. Imprisoned veteran activist Guo Feixiong, 49, and outspoken journalist Gao Yu, 72, are feared to be at grave risk.
"Chinese officials are earning an ugly reputation over their willingness to let political prisoners get terribly sick – and even die – in detention," said Sophie Richardson, China director. "The only appropriate response is for authorities to immediately facilitate access to adequate medical care for Guo Feixiong and Gao Yu, and all others who need it."
The report further stated that "Chinese authorities have denied adequate medical care in detention for other critics of the government. Grassroots activist Cao Shunli died in March 2014, about 20 days after being transferred while in a coma from detention to a hospital. "
The report says the "authorities originally detained her for trying to participate in the 2013 Universal Periodic Review of China's human rights record at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. Before she died, she told her lawyer that the authorities repeatedly denied her access to adequate medical care, even though she was suffering from tuberculosis and liver disease."
The report also expressed concern over "the family of prominent Tibetan monk Tenzin Delek Rinpoche who was informed of his death in a Sichuan prison in July 2015. He had been imprisoned for 13 years on baseless charges after a trial that did not meet minimum international standards. Before his death there were repeated reports that he was being tortured and that he was in deteriorating health."
Condemning China on its attack on Human Rights, the report says "Failure to provide prisoners access to adequate medical care violates the right to health under the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, which China has ratified. In its 2015 review under the Convention Against Torture, China was criticized for its failures to provide such care and resulting deaths in detention."
"The UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Mandela Rules) state that the provision of health care for prisoners is a government responsibility,' the HRW said. Prisoners "should have access to necessary health-care services free of charge without discrimination on the grounds of their legal status" (rule 24). In addition:
The HRW stated that "All prisons shall ensure prompt access to medical attention in urgent cases. Prisoners who require specialized treatment or surgery shall be transferred to specialized institutions or to civil hospitals. Where a prison service has its own hospital facilities, they shall be adequately staffed and equipped to provide prisoners referred to them with appropriate treatment and care (rule 27)."
"It's bad enough that China sends peaceful activists and journalists to prison for years," Richardson said. "But to deprive them of medical care even to the point of allowing their death is the ultimate in inhumane treatment," the report further added.
In a further effort to strengthen the "iron fist policies" that have emerged since 2013, China's Communist Party has escalated its heavy repression of human rights activists, journalists, writers, lawyers, bloggers, singers and other religious and ethnic minorities under President Xi Jinping's authoritarian leadership.