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Lawyers and Activists Urge Police to Make Public Cao Shunli’s Condition

February 24, 2014

Cao Shunli’s (曹顺利) lawyer Wang Yu ( ) and other lawyers and activists issued an urgent appeal to the Beijing police to make public information on Cao Shunli’s condition and undertake an investigation for liability. The appeal alleges that authorities at the Chaoyang District Detention Center, where Cao has been in custody, took away the medications Cao brought with her for her existing condition and refused medical treatment for her.

Below is the appeal in an English translation by volunteers.

Call for Action Regarding the Matter of Cao Shunli

February 24, 2014

[English translation by Volunteers]

We are extremely concerned by the worsening of Ms. Cao Shunli’s illness caused by delays in her treatment while in the Chaoyang district detention center.

On September 14, 2013, Ms. Cao Shunli suddenly disappeared from the immigration area of the Beijing Capital Airport on her way to Geneva to participate in a human rights training.

After her secret abduction by the Beijing police, lawyers received this case on October 22, 2013, and information was finally released: Cao Shunli was arrested on suspicion of the crime of unlawful assembly, and this was later modified to the crime of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble (寻衅滋事罪).”

Ms. Cao Shunli’s secret abduction was due to her participation in a two-month sit-in action in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that began in June 2013.

The action in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was a rights-protection action which Cao Shunli and 60 other petitioners were left with no choice but to take after having applied to the State Council Information Office requesting to participate in the drafting of the “National Human Rights Action Plan” civic human rights report, and also applying for the information office to disclose relevant governmental information, but receiving no response whatsoever and having judicial avenues blocked off. Their actions were entirely for the protection of civil rights enshrined in the third clause of Article 2 and in Article 42 of the PRC Constitution and they were in line with the principle spirit of the “International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights” which China has signed.

Ms. Cao Shunli is a graduate of Peking University School of law, with a masters degree, who previously held a position in the P.R.C. Ministry of Labor and Personnel. In 2002, during the national housing reforms, Ms. Cao exposed corruption in the office’s process for allocating housing, which offended the leadership, and she lost her public post as a result of retaliation.

As a result of her petitioning, she has been subjected to routine suppression, surveillance, and house arrest, as well as administrative detention on many occasions. Ms. Cao Shunli’s personal experience led her to shift her attention to China’s human rights situation, particularly concerning the survival and demands of petitioners and rights-protection groups, and she submitted many ‘human rights action proposals’ for the “National Human Rights Action Plan” to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She later launched the “Beijing Rights Protection Brigade” requesting that the State Council Press Office provide petitioners with their lawful right to petition. These actions for democracy and justice were met with hatred from the authorities. As a result, on April 10, 2009 and April 29, 2010, the authorities, in reprisals against her, twice subjected her to Re-education through Labor on groundless charges and without trial by a court.

However, this cruel suppression did nothing to impede Ms. Cao’s march towards human rights protection; on the contrary, it strengthened her resolve and belief in the cause of defending human rights.

Paying attention to human rights in member states has always been a major task of the United Nations, and the Human Rights Council is the enforcement agency for this mission. The United Nations Human Rights Council’s “Universal Periodic Review” is a mechanism by which periodic reviews are made of each of the 193 member states’ performance of their human rights duties and promises. The universal periodic review, which occurs once every four years, undertook a review of China’s human rights conditions in 2013. At the same time, 2013 was also a year in which China sought membership on the Human Rights Council. In that year, China sent its own formidable and extravagant delegation of over 400 persons. However, not one member of the delegation came from civil society! Moreover, the human rights reports it submitted contain a large number of lies,  with the prettiest language they can muster covering China’s contempt and trampling of  human rights domestically, as well as the cruel suppression of rights defenders.

This is the background that Ms. Cao Shunli has put herself up against. Her goals are only to display the true face of human rights in China to the people of the world in the hopes that this nation’s people, on the basis of “from the people and for the people,,” can fully enjoy freedom and the most basic political rights. However, this simple intent has met with wanton vengeance. While in the Beijing Capital Airport completing immigration formalities on her way to Geneva where she had been invited to participate in a human rights training, she was suddenly disappeared. This kind of disappearance is real-life depiction of a government reneging on its own human rights promises and duties.

Ms. Cao Shunli suffers from liver disorder, and her health has never been very good; after she was detained in the Chaoyang District Detention Center on September 14, the detention center refused her medical treatment, even forcibly taking away the medicine that she carried with her and not letting her use it. Because of the poor living conditions and diet in the detention center, giving her inadequate nutrition on top of the illness, which she already had and was not receiving effective treatment for, she was already extremely thin when she met with her lawyer, and her health was rapidly turning for the worse. Because they failed to conduct a routine health exam at intake, it was not until November 18, 2013, after she met with her lawyer who emphatically requested it, that the detention center conducted a health exam and found that: Cao Shunli has tuberculosis in both lungs, liver effusion, and uterine myomas and cysts. In light of this, her lawyer and family separately applied for medical parole several times, but all met with an oral refusal from the detention center.

Several Months passed until the day after the Chinese New Year holiday, when Ms. Cao Shunli’s lawyer, Wang Yu, went to the Chaoyang District Detention Center again and requested a meeting with Ms Cao. The detention center’s official said that Ms. Cao Shunli had gone to see a doctor and that no meeting was possible. After that, the lawyer called the detention center several times, but the detention center claimed that Ms. Cao Shunli had been admitted to hospital. The lawyer felt that she could still meet Cao even in the hospital. On February 20, the lawyer suddenly received a call from Mr. Cao Liyun,Ms. Cao Shunli’s brother, saying that the detention center had asked him to go to the Qinghe 999 Emergency Care Center in Haidian District to process the paperwork for medical parole. On learning this, the lawyer also immediately raced to the Qinghe 999 Emergency Care Center. However, the police completely refused to let the lawyer become involved or meet with the patient.

After Cao Shuli’s younger brother saw her, he told the lawyer that Cao had already been in a coma for 4 days and that she was now in a deep comatose state and connected to a ventilator, and that there was extreme danger with her illness having taken a serious turn for the worse,

Facing this situation, the lawyer and family continued to communicate with the police, requesting that Ms. Cao Shunli be transferred to a specialist medical institution for thorough and comprehensive treatment, and that the police agree to let Ms. Cao’s family accompany and look after her. Because the 999 Emergency Care Center is only a medical institution primarily for emergency care in traffic accidents, it is unable to undertake treatment of this kind of communicable disease. However, the detention center said that it would not make the transfer until the family completed formalities for release on guarantee.

We can’t help but ask: faced with a sick person whose life is in danger, why should “obtaining a guarantee” become a condition of the exchange?! What were the detention center’s goals and bases?

Under the solemn entreaties from the family, friends and lawyer, the detention center had no choice but to have Ms. Cao transferred to the Beijing 309 Hospital for treatment.

After this, we have heard that Beijing police have now taken into custody several friends who were going to check on Cao Shunli’s health.

In light of the Beijing police’s unlawful abduction of Cao Shunli, the rapid deterioration of Ms. Cao Shunli’s condition while in the detention center, the detention center’s continuous concealment of Cao Shunli’s condition and lack of transparency in her treatment, and in light of the detention center’s unreasonable interference with her lawyer’s attempts to understand her current situation, we hereby call for the Beijing police to disclose Cao Shunli’s condition in accordance with the law and further call for full disclosure and pursuit of liability. Let there be just treatment for human rights defenders! We hope that more people will make a call for action in support of Ms. Cao Shunli, to ensure that she receives comprehensive health care and also to call for her immediate acquittal and release and that of those people who tried to visit her in hospital. And to strive to maintain the seriousness and fairness of the nation’s laws and to work with those from all parts of society to promote improvement of the nation’s rule of law.

To sign this call to action, please reply to mobile phone numbers 13911070328 or 13161765238 or email to with your full name, address, profession and phone number.


Call for Action by:

王  宇 Wang Yu,北京律师 Beijing lawyer,13911070328

刘卫国 Liu Weiguo,山东律师 Shandong lawyer,13518610665

唐吉田 Tang Jitian,北京律师 Beijing lawyer,13161302848

江天勇 Jiang Tianyong,北京律师 Beijing lawyer,13001010856

王  成 Wang Cheng,浙江律师 Zhejiang lawyer,18989878464

隋牧青 Sui Muqing,广东律师 Guangdong lawyer,13711124956

王全平 Wang Quanping,广东律师 Guangdong lawyer,18022920729

刘金湘 Liu Jinxiang,山东律师 Shandong lawyer,18654659989

李如玉 Li Ruyu,江苏律师 Jiangsu lawyer,

葛文秀 Ge Wenxiu,广东律师 Guangdong lawyer,

张  磊 Zhang Lei,北京律师 Beijing lawyer,13910707905

程为善 Cheng Weizhan,江苏律师 Jiangsu lawyer,

刘晓芳 Liu Xiaofang,北京公民 Beijing citizen,13161765238

董奎红 Dong Kuihong: 吉林敦化市公民 Citizen in Dunhua city, Jilin province,13843309785

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