Two US citizens were detained yesterday in China as they tried to see a jailed democracy activist to examine reports of failing health, supporters said.
Zhu Yufu (朱虞夫) was handed a seven-year prison term in February last year in the midst of China’s leadership transition after advocacy that included publishing a poem urging people to congregate.
A Washington-based doctor, Devra Marcus, and her associate, Kody Kness, traveled to Zhejiang Province in hopes of seeing Zhu.
However, the two were denied entry by the prison authorities who instead detained them, according to ChinaAid, a US-based advocacy group. The group released photographs of Marcus on her trip and said that the US consulate in Shanghai was informed of the detention.
Marcus, in a statement recorded ahead of her trip, said that she was paying her first visit to China in hopes of studying brush painting, but wanted to see Zhu at the request of her family.
Marcus voiced alarm at reports that Zhu, 60, was denied regular food and medication and had repeatedly fainted.
“Based on these reports, I am concerned that Mr. Zhu may be at risk of imminent death for want of medical care and treatment,” she said.
“The job as physicians is to take care of all patients, but the fact that Mr. Zhu is regarded as an enemy of the Chinese state places him at special risk of being denied medical care,” she said.