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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2160

Sudden Demise of Chinese rights lawyer raises suspicions

Beijing, 04 March, (Asian

According to Reuters News Reports, a well-known Chinese rights lawyer died suddenly in hospital of liver failure on Monday.

A source told Reuters, sparking suspicion over the death of someone who was previously detained, did not drink alcohol and “looked fine” earlier this month.

Li Baiguang, a Christian human rights lawyer who had met regularly with high-level officials in the United States, died at the Number 81 People’s Liberation Army Hospital in Nanjing, eastern China, a source with direct knowledge of the case told Reuters.

“After a sudden outbreak of illness, the efforts to save him failed, and he passed away. He had not done a health check recently, so we do not know if there was a long-term cause,” the source said, requesting anonymity due to the sensitivity of the case.

The hospital where Li died declined to comment, saying it could not divulge personal details of patients.

In 2008, Li was given an award by the National Endowment for Democracy, a Washington-based nonprofit organization funded largely by the U.S. Congress, for his work defending arrested Christian pastors. Li is survived by his wife and eight-year-old son.

Bob Fu, a U.S.-based Chinese-American who was a close friend, said the death appeared suspicious, given a number of high-profile rights activists have died from liver failure while in custody in recent years.

Li had been detained by the authorities before, including in October last year, but it was unclear if he had been questioned by authorities more recently and he was not in detention when taken ill, Fu said.

“Li did not drink alcohol and he did not smoke. For someone’s liver to fail overnight at the age of 49 is highly unbelievable,” he said.

Li looked“perfectly fine” earlier this month on a visit to Washington, where he had met U.S. officials, Fu said.
China’s public security ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Li’s case or allegations of neglect.

- Asian Tribune -

Li Baiguang
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