Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned that Hu Shigen, who has spent 13 years in prison on counterrevolutionary charges, is in such poor health that friends fear he will not live to see his release, scheduled for 2012.
According to sources familiar with the situation, Hu Shigen, who is not yet 50, has been transformed into an old man as a result of his harsh treatment in prison. A broken finger has become permanently disfigured as a result of lack of medical treatment, and Hu suffers from chronic migraines, intestinal illness, back pain and malnutrition. A misalignment of his vertebrae has become so severe that Hu faces the risk of paralysis if his condition is not treated.
Hu’s family members have repeatedly requested that Hu be released on medical parole, but prison authorities have never replied. The family’s requests for a comprehensive physical examination and treatment of Hu’s infirmities have been similarly ignored.
Hu Shigen is currently under Class Two Close Supervision in prison. He is allowed only limited contact with his family, and is allowed spend only 80 yuan on food in addition to the meager fare provided in prison. He is monitored around the clock by several fellow prisoners who prevent him from talking to others. Hu’s teenage daughter, Junjun, has seen him only once in the past 13 years.
Born in November 1954, Hu Shigen graduated with a degree in Chinese from Peking University, and after obtaining his graduate degree he became a lecturer at the Beijing Language and Culture Institute. Hu Shigen helped to establish the China Freedom and Democracy Party (CFDP) in January 1991. He also participated in the Chinese Progressive Alliance, and in December 1991 joined Liu Jingsheng and others to establish the China Free Trade Union (CFTU) Preparatory Committee. Hu Shigen was also active in calling for accountability for the government’s violent suppression of the Democracy Movement in June 1989. He was detained on May 27, 1992 while planning June 4th memorial activities, and was formally arrested on September 27 that year, one of several dozen activists to be arrested in the course of an official clampdown on dissident activity at that time.
On December 16, 1994 the Beijing Intermediate People’s Court convicted Hu Shigen of leading a counterrevolutionary organization and counterrevolutionary propaganda, and sentenced him to a total of 20 years in prison and 5 years’ subsequent deprivation of political rights, the most severe custodial sentence imposed short of life imprisonment. Hu’s attempts to appeal his conviction and his refusal to express repentance for his political activities have led to his being treated with particular harshness in custody.
“We are very concerned over reports of Hu Shigen’s poor health and ill treatment,” said HRIC president Liu Qing. “The counterrevolutionary charges on which Hu was convicted do not even exist in Chinese law any more, and contravene China’s own constitutional protections of freedom of assembly and expression. The Chinese government’s oppressive and inhumane treatment of prisoners of conscience such as Hu also contravenes its obligations under international law.” HRIC calls on the Chinese authorities to immediately provide Hu Shigen with the medical treatment he requires, and to release him on medical parole if his condition is too serious to treat in prison.
Hu Shigen’s address in prison is:
Chaoyang District Post Office Box # 2357-5
Beijing No. 2 Prison
Beijing 100023, P.R.C.