The Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid Christoph Strässer issued the following statement today (17 March) on the death of Chinese human rights activist Cao Shunli:
I am deeply saddened by the death of human rights activist Cao Shunli. She was a courageous champion of an independent civil society in China. The German Government and the EU repeatedly urged – unfortunately without success – that the imprisoned Cao Shunli, who was seriously ill, be given medical treatment.
I appeal to China – a member of the UN Human Rights Council – to respect human rights standards and to allow civil society to participate in the process of country reviews. I also call upon China to ensure medical care for prisoners and not use it as a means to exert pressure on them or their families.
Ms Cao Shunli had called for Chinese civil society to be involved in the process of UN country reviews. In September 2013, she was arrested at Beijing airport while she was on her way to Geneva to take part in a training programme for NGOs. Cao Shunli is reported to have died because she was denied medical treatment for months during her incarceration. She died on 14 March in Beijing.