Chinese rights lawyer Tang Jitian on Friday called on the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to lift a travel ban and allow him to travel to visit his critically ill daughter in Japan.
Tang’s daughter, who lives in Japan, is currently critically ill with tuberculosis, but Tang has been slapped with a travel ban in the wake of years of advocacy for members of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement, victims of the tainted infant milk powder scandal and illegal land grabs, and people living with HIV/AIDS, among other vulnerable groups.
Tang was permanently barred from working as a lawyer in 2010, although he has continued to work as an advocate and legal adviser, and has been repeatedly detained and placed under house arrest.
“She was studying in a language school, preparing to take the Japanese school exam,” Tang told RFA on Friday. “She got a headache with a fever, and she didn’t think at first that it was so serious.”
“She now has tuberculosis that has entered her brain,” Tang said. “She has been in hospital for two weeks now.”
Tang’s daughter developed hydrocephalus, putting her brain stem under pressure, and is currently on a ventilator with a tracheostomy, he said.
“She is in the intensive care unit,” Tang said. “The hydrocephalus is compressing her nerves, and this will definitely have an adverse affect on the way her body functions, including mobility in her arms and legs.”
Talks with police
Tang said he is currently trying to negotiate with state security police to lift his travel ban, which began after he lost his lawyer’s license in 2010.
In 2017, he was turned back by border guards at the Lo Wu border crossing after he tried to travel to Hong Kong to seek medical treatment. He was told at the time that his leaving the country could pose a “threat to national security.”
“Yesterday, [the state security police] said they are looking into [my request] and will get back to me with a clear answer when they have made their decision,” Tang said.
“They said it’s a tricky one, because the people making the decisions are people who have no connection with [me],” he said. “All we can do is wait to see what the higher-ups decide.”
Rights attorney Wang Yu said she has been subjected to similar restrictions.
“A lot of people are under surveillance and are unable to come and go freely [from China], including myself and my husband,” Wang told RFA. “I hope the Chinese police will be able to lift the travel ban [in Tang’s case].”
But Wang says she isn’t very optimistic.
“I don’t think the chances are very high, because even people who were allowed to leave the country before, are now being prevented from leaving,” she said.
Reported by Gao Feng for RFA’s Mandarin Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.