On September 13th, Cao Shunli was about to board a flight to Geneva to testify about human rights violations in China, when she was questioned and barred from taking the flight.
She has not been heard of since, and she’s thus suspected of being the victim of a “forced disappearance” by the Chinese government. As you read this, she is likely to be enduring torture and/or cruel, degrading and inhuman treatment. It won’t be the first time.
After participating in a street protest in 2009, Cao Shunli was arrested without charges, tortured during a week in a police station and then sent to a “re-education camp” for another year of mistreatment. She was never allowed to see a lawyer.
In re-education camps, prisoners must spend the whole say – save for meal breaks – sitting down, with their backs straight and arms next to their sides, listening to lectures on how to be proper Chinese citizens. At night, they have to work for free. They are not even allowed a break when they sleep, they are forced to do so straight, on their backs, with their mouths facing upwards (like corpses). Their only hope of being freed is being convincing enough in their “confessions” to convince the authorities that they have been rehabilitated into mindless, servile citizens.
Cao Shunli spent a year in the camp before being freed, but was arrested soon after and sent to another one for another year. She continued her human rights activism after being freed, and in October 2012 she was arrested for requesting public disclosure of China’s “National Human Rights Action Plan.”
Please e-mail the Chinese Embassy in Washington (firstname.lastname@example.org) to ask for her freedom.
This post comes to you thanks to San Leandro Council Member Benny Lee