China: Fears grow for health of detained human rights defender Mr Yang Kuang


yang_kuangOn 26 March 2014, the lawyer for detained human rights defender Mr Yang Kuang expressed serious concern for the health of his client, following a meeting with him on 25 March.

Yang Kuang, who is based in Hong Kong, has been in custody in mainland China since 31 December 2013, when he was detained on the charge of “illegally crossing state borders”.

Yang Kuang is a Hong Kong-based human rights defender who had been previously detained in mainland China after attempting to visit Liu Xia, the wife of imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize winner Mr Liu Xiaobo. Liu Xia has been under strict house arrest since her husband was awarded the Prize in 2010. Yang Kuang has also been involved in a campaign to assert Chinese sovereignty over a group of islands which are disputed with Japan.

Mr Sui Muqing, who is legally representing Yang Kuang, said that the human rights defender had told him that he had been suffering extremely severe headaches for a week and that he was relying on painkillers to get through the day. According to Sui Muqing, a doctor in Shenzhen No 1 Detention Centre where Yang Kuang is being held was unable to diagnose his symptoms and prescribed him painkillers to lessen the pain. He has not been permitted to receive treatment in an outside hospital.

Yang Kuang was detained on 31 December 2013 by authorities in Shenzhen, Guangdong province as he attempted to return to Hong Kong following a visit to his wife in Henan Province. Yang Kuang had entered the mainland illegally due to the fact that his home-return permit, a document which allows him to return to mainland China, was cancelled by Chinese authorities following his efforts to visit Liu Xia in Beijing in March 2013. At that time, he was held for 30 hours and questioned by Beijing police on charges of “provoking quarrels and making trouble”. He was detained again later that month after he entered the mainland illegally to pay a visit to his mother in Guangdong province. He was held for a number of hours before being released.

Front Line Defenders is seriously concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of Yang Kuang, especially in the context of human rights defender Ms Cao Shunli’s recent death in custody due to continued denial of access to adequate medical attention. While Front Line Defenders does not condone Yang Kuang’s illegal entry into mainland China, it believes that the cancellation of his home-return permit was unjustified, given that it related to his activities in defence of human rights.


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