Demand Justice for Deceased Prisoner


Target: Wang Qishan, Secretary, Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China

Goal: Investigate the refusal of medical treatment to a prisoner which resulted in death

Cao Shunli, a prominent Chinese human rights activist, recently passed away due to health conditions that could have been treated. She was refused medical treatment throughout the duration of her six month incarceration, and was only allowed to visit a hospital once her condition had deteriorated to life-threatening. After she perished, the hospital would not allow Shunli’s family or lawyers to see the body, presumably due its shocking condition.

Ms. Shunli was best known for her work to promote human rights in China. She staged a two-month sit in outside of the Chinese Foreign Ministry urging citizens to participate in a national human rights report. She spent most of her adult life campaigning for greater government transparency and civil participation in rights discussions.

Shunli’s troubles began when she was detained for questioning in a Chinese airport on her way to participate in a UN human rights workshop. She was held incommunicado for months before being officially arrested, and before her family was notified of her whereabouts. She was charged with “picking quarrels and provoking troubles,” and detained without medical care at Beijing’s Chaoyang district detention center.

Shunli suffered from several illnesses, all of them curable or treatable – tuberculosis, liver disease and uterine fibroids. Refusal of medical parole caused her conditions to remain untreated for several months, causing Shunli to fall into a coma. She was transported to a hospital when it was already too late, and died of organ failure.

With proper medical care, Cao Shunli could have lived a long and healthy life. Instead, she was left to languish in prison to the point that she died from the progression of her conditions. Demand an investigation into the prolonged refusal of medical parole that resulted in Cao Shinli’s death.


Dear Wang Qishan, Secretary, Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China,

Recently, human rights activist Cao Shunli died of organ failure related to medical conditions allowed to go untreated for several months. After being imprisoned for her role in a sit-in in front of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, she was denied medical parole or transference to a specialized facility. Initially treatable conditions deteriorated to life threatening, resulting in a coma, and finally, organ failure.

Had Shunli received treatment for her conditions, she could have lived a long life. Denying prisoners medical attention is cruel and reckless, and has resulted in the loss of lives. I demand an investigation into the neglect that led to Cao Shunli’s death, and ask that regulations are put in place to prevent similar situations in the future.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: v1ctor via Creative Commons

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