(Shanghai—Nov. 15, 2017) In an episode that eerily echoes the death of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo, a second imprisoned Chinese dissident succumbed to brain cancer in a Shanghai hospital last week as officials routinely denied his family’s request to allow him to consult specialists overseas, Radio Free Asia reported.
After an illustrious career in journalism and participation in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, Yang Tianshui quit his job to focus on promoting democracy and became a founding member of the China Democracy in 1990. His activism triggered a series of arrests, and the Zhejiang Intermediate Court sentenced him to 12 years in prison and four years’ deprivation of political rights in a secret trial on May 16, 2006.
However, on Aug. 12 of this year, physicians found an aggressive tumor in Yang’s brain, and the prison transferred him to a hospital upon his diagnosis. His family petitioned authorities to allow him to travel abroad for treatment, but they refused, and instead transferred him to a specialist facility in Shanghai.
They then isolated him from all but his closest family.
Radio Free Asia also noted that Yang’s death bears remarkable similarities to the demise of Liu Xiaobo, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who died a prisoner on July 13. Like Yang, doctors diagnosed Liu with advanced liver cancer weeks before his death and refused to permit him to travel overseas, despite his family’ persistent requests that he do so. Instead, they brought two renowned oncologists, one American and one German, to see him, but not until the cancer was too advanced for them to save his life. These two tragedies led Teng Biao, a scholar of Chinese law, to speculate that the government is expediting the demise of political prisoners, Radio Free Asia reported.
Yang and Liu’s deaths are horrendous transgressions of human rights for which China deserves to be unanimously condemned by those living in the free world. ChinaAid reports on them in order to stand in solidarity with the persecuted and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.