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UA 92/94 - People's Republic of China: medical concern: Bao Tong

, Index number: ASA 17/013/1994

There is serious concern for the health of Bao Tong, a 60-year-old prisoner of conscience, who is serving seven years' imprisonment for his activities during the 1989 pro-democracy movement. During a visit on 16 February to Qincheng Prison in Beijing, where he is held in solitary confinement, his family were shocked at the deterioration of his health and his harsh living conditions. They have appealed to the international community for help. He has developed a variety of new ailments, including a thyroid tumour, swollen lymph nodes and constricted salivary glands. He already suffers from a reduced white blood cell count, chronic gastritis and growths in his colon and intestines. His family have been denied access to his medical records and his doctors to determine whether his condition is cancerous and what sort of treatment he is receiving.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: ASA 17/13/94
Distr: UA/SC
UA 92/94 Medical concern 7 March 1994
PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA:Bao Tong, aged 60, prisoner of conscience
There is serious concern about the health of Bao Tong, a prisoner of conscience
serving seven years' imprisonment for his activities during the 1989
pro-democracy movement. During a visit on 16 February 1994 to Qincheng Prison
in Beijing, where he is held in solitary confinement, his family were shocked
at the deterioration of his health and his harsh living conditions, and have
appealed to the international community for help.
According to the most recent medical examination doctors have carried out,
Bao Tong has developed a variety of new ailments which have caused his face
to swell: a thyroid tumour, swollen lymph nodes and constricted salivary glands.
He already suffers from a reduced white blood cell count, chronic gastritis
as well as growths in his colon and intestines, 17 of which have been removed
in six separate operations. Such growths generally indicate a pre-cancerous
condition which requires regular medical examination and specialized care.
It is not known whether the growths which have been removed were found to be
malignant.
Bao Tong's family have been denied access to his medical records and have not
been given the opportunity to meet with the doctors to ascertain whether his
condition is cancerous, or to determine what sort of medical treatment he is
receiving. His family have sent 54 written appeals to the authorities, all
of which have gone unanswered. In the latest appeal written on 24 February
1994, Bao Tong's son, Bao Pu, called on the authorities to grant the family
access to Bao Tong's doctors and medical records and respond to their repeated
requests for Bao Tong to be released on medical parole. He also requested that
his father's living conditions improve, that he be provided with nutritious
food, be permitted to shower more frequently and be allowed to use a tape recorder
to exercise his voice, which has become hoarse from lack of opportunity to
speak.
Amnesty International is concerned that Bao Tong is in a critical condition
and fears he may not survive two more years in detention without proper medical
care and an improvement in his diet.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Bao Tong was a senior official of the Chinese Communist Party before his arrest
in May 1989 for allegedly leaking secret information about the decision to
impose martial law in Beijing in late May 1989. He was charged with "leaking
state secrets" and carrying out "counter-revolutionary propaganda and
incitement" and sentenced in July 1992 to seven years' imprisonment at a secret
trial to which his family were refused entry. His appeal against his sentence
was rejected in August 1992.
This Urgent Action also updates UA 28/92 (ASA 17/11/92, 24 January 1992) and
its follow-ups (ASA 17/39/92, 7 July; ASA 17/41/92, 22 July; and ASA 17/46/92,
11 August).
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes and airmail letters
- expressing concern at reports of Bao Tong's critical health condition which
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requires proper medical care that he may not be able to obtain in prison;
- urging that he be released immediately to seek medical treatment at home.
APPEALS TO:
1) Premier of the State Council
Li Peng Zongli
Guowuyuan
9 Xihuangchenggenbeijie
Beijingshi 100032
People's Republic of China
Telexes: 210070 FMPRC CN or 22478 MFERT CN
Faxes: + 86 1 512 5810
(via Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Telegrams: Premier Li Peng, Beijing, China
Salutation: Your Excellency
2) Minister of Justice of the People's Republic of China
XIAO Yang Buzhang
Sifabu
Xiaguangli
Sanyuanqiao
Chaoyang Qu
Beijingshi 100016
People's Republic of China
Telexes: 210070 FMPRC CN or 22478 MFERT CN
(Please forward to Xiao Yang Buzhang)
Faxes: + 861 467 7351
Telegrams: Minister of Justice Xiao Yang, Beijing, China
Salutation: Your Excellency
COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO:
Beijing Daily
34 Xi Biaobei Hutong
Dongdan
Beijing 100743
Faxes: + 861 512 6581 (If possible, please fax copies to this newspaper)
and to diplomatic representatives of China accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your Section office, if sending appeals after 18 April 1994.

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