The crushing treatment meted out to political dissenters by China time and again is known the world over. This time however, Nobel Prize winning democracy activist Liu Xiaobo is at the receiving end of it.
The 61-year-old cancer-stricken Chinese activist has been campaigning for enhanced democracy and human rights for decades. In fact, the global community too raised calls for Xiaobo’s release when he was jailed in 2009 by the Chinese government.
According to prison authorities Xiaobo is under the supervision of eight renowned oncologists at a hospital in Shenyang city (which is the capital of northeastern province – Liaoning). Other activists however are not convinced with the medical treatment being provided to Xiaobo and are of the view that it’s just a cover up to prevent any mass protests for inhuman treatment extended to Xiaobo at the hands of Chinese government.
Also activists are keen to know about when exactly authorities have begun Xiaobo’s treatment, as they think that authorities may have deliberately let Xiaobo’s health deteriorate and also why Xiaobo wasn’t allowed parole earlier.
Chen Guangcheng, another blind human rights activist and lawyer who fled China in 2012 and is now staying in United States said, “If Liu died in prison this would arouse the anger of the people and accelerate the demise of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party).”
Democracy campaigners in China also have no awareness of how many lawyers and activists are being kept in detention by the Chinese government as most of them have no access to legal advice or even meet their families.
Wang Quanzhang is one such leading human rights lawyer, who was put behind bars in January 2016 with “inciting subversion of state power” and “picking quarrels and provoking troubles” being the legal charges slapped on him. Since his detention, Quanzhang’s trial hasn’t commenced till now and neither is he given access to a lawyer to defend himself rightfully.
The unbelievably high conviction rate of 99.2 percent in Chinese courts is another issue raised by the Chinese activist community alledging torture to force activists under detention for confessing against fellow activists as well as convicting under-trial activists without giving them the opportunity of a fair trial.
The present treatment of Xiaobo is nothing new in China according to Sophie Richardson, China director of Human Rights Watch. The last time a mass crackdown on democracy and human rights activists was conducted by China government, took place in 2015 – also known as the infamous “709 crackdown” – considered as the fiercest in recent past. Tibetan monk Tenzin Delek Rinpoche (died in prison in July 2015) and Chinese dissident Cao Shunli (passed away in March 2014 because of no medical assistance in prison) also died in the similar fashion under detention.
The Chief Justice of China’s Apex court Zhou Qiang also observed in the court’s annual report, the unproportionatly harsh judgements delivered by the Chinese judiciary in cases involving human rights and democracy activists as a testament to the success of Chinese Judicial System.