China Aid Association

In this photo provided by the U.S.-based Christian human
rights group China Aid, American physician Dr. Devra
Marcus, center, American human right advocate Kody
Kness, left, and Jiang Hangli, wife of Chinese democracy
activist Zhu Yufu, are seen in front the No. 4 Zhejiang Prison
office building on the outskirts of Hangzhou in eastern
China’s Zhejiang province, Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013, while
waiting for Kness’s cellphone, which was taken away by
the prison, to be returned, after they were denied a medical
visit to the ailing activist. Dr. Marcus and Kness, both of
Washington, were trying to make a humanitarian visit to Zhu,
who is serving a seven-year sentence on a conviction of
inciting subversion and is believed to be in poor health.
(AP Photo/Courtesy China Aid)

(Beijing—Oct. 12, 2013) The Associated Press reported that a doctor and a human rights advocate, both U.S. citizens, were denied a medical visit to a Chinese dissident and were briefly held inside the eastern Chinese prison.

Dr. Devra Marcus and Kody Kness, a human rights activist, traveled to China so that Marcus could examine Zhu Yufu, a member of the China 16 who was imprisoned after writing a poem that authorities claimed incited subversion. The full story by the Associated Press can be read below.

BEIJING (AP) — A physician and a human rights advocate, both Americans, said they were denied a medical visit to an ailing Chinese democracy activist in a jail in eastern China on Saturday and held briefly inside the prison.

Dr. Devra Marcus and human rights advocate Kody Kness, both from the Washington, D.C., area, were trying to make a humanitarian visit to Zhu Yufu, who is serving a seven-year sentence on a conviction of inciting subversion and is believed to be in poor health in the prison in Zhejiang province.

Kness said their request for a visit was denied on the ground that they are foreigners and that he and Marcus were held after he used his cellphone to take a photo outside the office of a prison functionary they had been dealing with. Kness said he wanted to photograph the office plaque to keep as a record because the functionary had refused to identify himself. But the photo-taking act apparently upset the functionary, who became furious and took away Kness’ cellphone, Kness said.

“He was unapproachable, and we were apologetic,” Kness said.

Marcus said they were held for about an hour, and had their passports and Kness’ cellphone taken away. She said they were questioned and admonished before they were let go with their passports and the cellphone returned. Photos in Kness’ cellphone were erased, she said.

Marcus and Kness have traveled to China on tourist visas and had hoped they could visit Zhu in prison. “I think the main goal is to call attention to his situation,” said Marcus, who became concerned about Zhu after hearing reports of his ill health. “We want to indicate there are people in the United States who are interested in his well-being.”

Zhu is listed among 16 jailed Chinese prisoners whom international human rights groups are urging the Chinese government to free. Zhu, 60, is a veteran democracy activist whose latest run-in with the Chinese government was a poem calling the Chinese people into action for freedom.


China Aid Contacts

Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
Website: www.chinaaid.org