China Aid Association
(Hangzhou, Zhejiang—Oct. 13, 2013) A retired Washington, D.C. medical doctor who wanted to provide medical attention to ailing jailed dissident and Christian Zhu Yufu that Chinese authorities have reportedly denied him was refused permission to see him when she arrived at the Chinese prison Saturday.
Devra Marcus and American human rights advocate Kody Kness arrived at the Zhejiang No. 4 Prison in the provincial capital of Hangzhou at 10 a.m. to apply for a humanitarian visit with the 60-year-old longtime critic of the regime. Although prison officials received them in a prison office, they angrily refused to allow them even to formally submit an application for the visit, and one prison official forcibly confiscated Kness’ cellphone.
Marcus had wanted to give Zhu a medical exam after learning from his family that, despite repeated requests, he had been denied basic medical attention for his multiple health problems, which include acute high blood pressure and coronary artery disease, and had not been seen by a doctor in over a year. Zhu, whose political activism dates back to the 1978 Democracy Wall movement, was sentenced in February to a seven-year prison term for “subversion of state power.”
ChinaAid’s earlier reports on Zhu’s case include:
Marcus and Kness were kept in the prison for two hours on Saturday morning before prison officials returned their passports and Kness’ cellphone and ordered the two to leave the prison.
Marcus, 73, an internist who had a medical practice for four decades, decided to attempt the prison visit after having twice hosted Zhu’s family in her home outside Washington, D.C., when Zhu’s relatives met with Congressional leaders and State Department officials in the spring in an attempt to draw attention to Zhu’s case.
ChinaAid spearheaded the high-level diplomacy campaign and made the arrangements for Zhu’s family to stay in Marcus’ home because of its long association with Marcus’ husband, Michael Horowitz, a former Reagan administration official and longtime human rights activist.
“The heroic sacrificial act of Dr. Devra Marcus reflects both her deep compassion and professionalism as a distinguished medical doctor for the fundamental rights of a fellow human being,” said ChinaAid president Bob Fu. “I hope Dr. Marcus’ trip can raise the awareness of the international community about the brutal inhuman treatment of Mr. Zhu and many other prisoners of conscience in China like him.”
ChinaAid played an instrumental role in Marcus’ trip, including coordinating communication with Zhu’s family and providing translation of his medical records and other documents related to his case and health.
“When I saw the report that he was afraid he was going to die in prison and a list of the conditions that he was said to have, I thought… that maybe if I went and was able to call attention to these medical problems that it would be possible for him at least to get medical attention,” Marcus said in the video interview above, conducted at her home in McLean, Va., before her departure for China.
Zhu had earlier served two prison terms for his political activism. This most recent prison sentence stemmed from a poem that he posted online during the time of the Arab Spring protests in the Middle East. A translation of the poem is below. Zhu had served an earlier seven-year prison term beginning in 1999, also for subversion, and in 2007 was sentenced again, to a two-year prison term.
Horowitz, a Hudson Institute senior fellow who in February was arrested for protesting outside the White House on behalf of China’s political and religious prisoners during a U.S.-China summit, said, “I believe that the 21st century will be defined—not by what the Islamist do, but by whether China remains autocratic, dictatorial or becomes a civil, democratic society. Thus, people like Zhu—and the other Uyghurs, Falun Gong practitioners, attorneys, Christians and other brave dissidents of the China 16, and others like them—are at the cutting edge of defining the character of the world for the next hundred years or so.”
See ChinaAid’s report at: https://chinaaid.org/2012/02/american-human-rights-activist-arrested.html
Horowitz also said, “How sad that the Chinese government feels threatened by a doctor seeking only to examine a patient who has been denied access to medicine and medical treatment for almost a year, and who may be at risk of death.” He added that the Chinese authorities “will learn that if the AIDS virus didn’t stop Devra from putting patients first, Chinese jailers won’t.”
Zhu Yufu’s poem “It’s Time”:
It’s time, people of China! It’s time. The Square belongs to everyone. With your own two feet
It’s time to head to the Square and make your choice.
It’s time, people of China! It’s time. A song belongs to everyone. From your own throat
It’s time to voice the song in your heart.
It’s time, people of China! It’s time. China belongs to everyone. Of your own will
It’s time to choose what China shall be.
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