China: jailed dissident writer beaten by mentally ill inmates
Reporters Without Borders is very worried about a report posted on the Dajiyuan online forum that dissident writer Yan Zhengxue, 63, has been beaten in prison. According to Huang Heqing, another dissident, “Mentally ill people locked up with Yan Zhengxue in Shilifeng prison in Quzhou (in the southeastern province of Zhejiang) hit him several times with a bench, including on the head, in early November. Perhaps as a result of these blows, he now has to use a stick to walk.”
Yan, who has been detained since October 2006, had already written a letter from prison complaining about conditions. He said he was locked away with thugs and felt threatened. His wife, Zhu Chunliu, told Radio Free Asia: “There were no crazy people locked up with him when I went to see him in September. But there were lots of inmates, and most were criminals.” She said he was in very poor health and needed treatment but was forced to do eight hours of prison work a day.
Yan was arrested on 18 October 2006 for writing articles for foreign websites. A court in Taizhou in Zhejiang province sentenced him in April to three years in prison for “subverting state authority.” He has been arrested at least 13 times for his pro-democracy activities.