GENEVA (23 March 2018) –UN human rights experts* are deeply concerned over the deteriorating health of Jiang Tianyong, a prominent human rights lawyer jailed in China for inciting “subversion” of State power.
“Mr. Jiang’s health has apparently deteriorated dramatically in recent months. He is reportedly weak and suffers from severe memory loss, and it is suspected that he may have been drugged,” the experts observed. “This raises fears of torture or ill-treatment in detention, without access to adequate medical care”. The experts urged that Mr Jiang be given urgent medical attention and that a full report on his health status be provided to his family.
The experts also noted that many of the nearly 250 lawyers and defenders arrested in an unprecedented crackdown in July 2015 remain in detention, and are often held incommunicado. “We appeal to the Chinese Government to provide the detainees at a minimum with access to their families, lawyers of their own choosing and adequate health care,” said the experts.
Mr. Jiang provided legal defence for some of the human rights lawyers who were arrested in the crackdown. He was subsequently disappeared on 21 November 2016 and held in secret detention for more than nine months.
Mr. Jiang was found guilty of the incitement charge on 21 November 2017 by the Changsha Intermediate People’s Court and sentenced to two years jail. The experts had condemned the verdict and previously expressed concern that his confession may have been coerced by the use of torture.
The UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, who met with Mr. Jiang during his visit to China in August 2016, has also expressed concern that his enforced disappearance may have occurred, at least in part, in reprisal for his cooperation with the UN during his visit to China.
The experts also criticized the lack of transparency of the judgment and its implications. “We are dismayed that a copy of the verdict has never been provided to Mr. Jiang’s family or to his lawyer. We urge the Chinese Government to provide it to his family and lawyer as soon as possible,” said the experts.
The experts have been in contact with the Chinese Government on several occasions to raise their concern about Mr. Jiang’s situation.
* The present statement has been endorsed by Dainius Pūras, Special Rapporteur on the right to health.
The Special Rapporteurs and Working Groups are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms of the Human Rights Council that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.