Remember: 2nd anniversary of the death of Cao Shunli

March 15, 2016

Yesterday, 14 March 2016 was the second anniversary of the death of Cao Shunli, a Chinese human rights defender who was detained and denied adequate medical treatment in police custody for five months, before dying in a military hospital in Beijing in 2014. This happened shortly after she was shortlisted for the Martin Ennals Award in that year. [see also]. Has the situation improved…?

Cao Shunli

On the occasion of the second anniversary of her death, Front Line Defenders once again calls for an independent, impartial investigation into the death of Cao Shunli and that those responsible for her treatment are brought to justice. ….Rather than examining their procedures in the wake of Cao Shunli’s death, the Chinese authorities have instead doubled down on the reprisals against human rights defenders and despite the rhetorical emphasis on ‘rule of law’, it is evident that rule of law as it relates to human rights defenders is further away than ever. Indeed Cao Shunli’s lawyer, Wang Yu, who bravely battled the authorities on her behalf, is now herself behind bars and facing a charge of ‘subverting state power’. She is one of scores of human rights defenders around the country who have been detained or sentenced in the past year.[]

Another human rights defenders in trouble is 2015 Front Line Defenders Award winner Guo Feixiong whose sister reported in late February that he was in ‘very poor health’ following his transfer from a detention centre after being sentenced to six years in prison last November.

Cao Shunli

Front Line Defenders’ protest in front of the Chinese Embassy in Dublin, March 2014.

Cao Shunli had been campaigning since 2008 for greater civil society involvement in China’s drafting of its reports for the Universal Period Review (UPR) and of its National Human Rights Action Plans. In October 2012, Cao Shunli wrote to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to enquire about public participation in the drafting of the National Human Rights Report for China’s UPR, which took place on 22 October 2013, and asked that the details be made public. The following month, the Ministry responded saying that some of the information she applied for was not suitable ‘for public disclosure’ due to the State Secrets law. Cao Shunli, along with a number of fellow human rights defenders, engaged in a number of sit-ins outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from June 2013 to demand greater participation in the UPR process. These protests were repeatedly broken up by police. The short and moving video that True Heroes Films made on her struggle is testimony to the potential of the UPR: 


Source: On 2nd anniversary of the death of  Shunli, Front Line Defenders reiterates its call for those responsible to be held accountable. | Front Line Defenders

One Response to “Remember: 2nd anniversary of the death of Cao Shunli”

  1. […] China’s best-known human rights defender and Nobel peace prize winner Liu Xiaobo, has been released on medical parole after he was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer. Liu, 61, is in the late stages of the disease. Apparently he was diagnosed in May already but no announcement was made then. China has experience with such late intervention, see: […]

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