By Harry Glass
The imprisoned leaders of last years' mass workers' demonstrations in the city of Liaoyang have been transferred to a prison notorious for its brutality. Yao Fuxin and Xiao Yunliang have been moved to Lingyuan Prison, a huge penal colony located close to the border with Inner Mongolia.
Many political dissidents arrested after the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989 were held at Lingyuan Prison, and numerous reports from prisoners indicate that it is one of the most brutal prisons in the whole of China.
Political prisoners are regularly beaten, shocked with high-voltage electric batons, and placed in tiny solitary confinement cells for long periods of time for the slightest "infringement" of prison rules. Both Yao Fuxin and Xiao Yunliang are in an extremely poor state of health, and the transfer will further exacerbate their medical problems. Yao and Xiao were tried in January 2003 on wholly unsubstantiated charges of "subverting state power," and in May they were handed down prison sentences of seven and four years respectively. A higher court subsequently rejected their appeals.
The China Labour Bulletin is calling on the international labour movement to urge the Chinese government to release both men immediately on medical grounds, and to provide them with proper medical care.
- For more information, go to the China Labour Bulletin.