China sends activist, daughter to labour camp


Beijing : China has sentenced a well-known environmental activist and his daughter to “reform through labour” after accusing them of “endangering state security” by disclosing details of radioactive pollution from a uranium mine, rights groups said Friday.

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Sun Xiaodi, a former employee of the state-run Number 792 Uranium Mine in the northwestern province of Gansu, has campaigned for more than a decade to draw attention to pollution from the mine.

Public security officials in Gansu last week ordered that Sun, 53, serve two years at a labour camp, claiming he had been “illegally providing state secrets overseas” and was guilty of “rumour mongering”, US-based Human Rights in China and other groups said.

His daughter Sun Haiyan, 25, was sentenced to 18 months of reform through labour for helping him, the reports said.

Reform-through-labour (RTL) sentences are passed by local judicial committees without trial.

“If the authorities have evidence that Sun Xiaodi and his daughter endangered state security, they should present it in an open and fair trial,” Sharon Hom, executive director of Human Rights in China, said in a statement.

“Instead, they chose RTL — a non-transparent process of administrative punishment lacking procedural protections — raising strong suspicions about their handling of these cases,” Hom said.

The rights group said local authorities had “intensified their monitoring and harassment” of Sun Xiaodi since he won an international Nuclear-Free Future Award in 2006.

Sentences to labour camps are often used to silence local rights activists in China.