Chinese dissident writer dies on medical parole

BEIJING • A veteran Chinese dissident who had nearly completed a 12-year prison sentence for "subversion" has died on medical parole, rights groups said yesterday.

Writer Yang Tongyan died on Tuesday, nearly three months after an Aug 23 operation to remove a brain tumour, Amnesty International said in a statement, citing information from close friends.

Rights groups say a pattern has emerged in recent years where China releases activists from prison in poor health, or only weeks before they die, with late Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo being a notable example.

News of the death emerged as US President Donald Trump, whose government had urged China to release Mr Liu before he died, arrived in Beijing for meetings with Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

Mr Yang was convicted in 2006 for posting anti-government articles online, after having already spent a decade in prison for "counter-revolutionary" crimes.

The 56-year-old had been released from Nanjing Prison on medical parole in August following his diagnosis with an aggressive form of brain cancer.

When asked whether Mr Yang had requested overseas treatment prior to his death, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying said she did not have any information.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 09, 2017, with the headline 'Chinese dissident writer dies on medical parole'. Print Edition | Subscribe