In a report just released an hour ago, Reuters tells us that Shanghai housing rights activist, Chen Xiaoming, who was one of seven Chinese activists awarded the 2006 Housing Rights Defender Award by the Geneva-based Centre for Housing Rights and Evictions, “has died hours after he was released on medical parole”.
From the Reuters report:
Shanghai authorities had repeatedly rejected applications by Chen Xiaoming’s family to release him on parole for treatment for a chronic illness, Human Rights in China said in an e-mail.
When the activist was transferred to Shanghai’s Tilanqiao Prison Hospital from Baimaoling Prison in late June, his family found him “reduced to a skeletal condition, constantly vomiting blood and barely conscious”, the group said.
The authorities eventually approved Chen’s parole application and he was transferred to another Shanghai hospital on July 1, but died hours later after a massive haemorrhage.
Chen Xiaoming’s profile from the Centre for Housing Rights and Evictions website:
Chen Xiaoming became a housing rights activist when his house was expropriated in the Xuhui District of Shanghai in 1994. As a result of this, Chen quit his job and taught himself Chinese law to contest the government’s actions against the housing rights of the poor. He successfully sued the government in 1995 using Administrative Procedure Law. Chen has used his knowledge and experience to help victims of forced evictions get redress by documenting their cases, testing and building state legal procedures, writing letters to the Chinese authorities and putting government violations of people’s rights under accountability through admissive lawsuits. Chen’s current whereabouts are not known since he was arrested in February 2006 by police officers from Shanghai’s Luwan District PSB. He was arrested for meeting with an American diplomat to discuss problems faced by evictees.
Picture of residents (not Chen Xiaoming) protesting over forced housing relocations outside the Ritz Carlton, Shanghai, 12 August 2005 from Monkeyking