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While praising Egypt, US calls on China to release political prisoners

Clashes by the US embassy in Cairo, Egypt on 9 March 2012 [Gigi Ibrahim/Flickr]
Clashes by the US embassy in Cairo, Egypt on 9 March 2012 [Gigi Ibrahim/Flickr]

The US embassy in Cairo has written a press statement calling on Beijing to release people detained unjustly.

The statement asks that human rights lawyer Wang Quanchang be allowed to move freely including joining his family in Beijing now that he has been released from unfair detention.

Wang was detained as part of a campaign against over 300 lawyers and human rights activists in July 2015.

The statement also called for the release of Li Yuhan and Yu Wensheng and other Chinese citizens who are being held "in pursuit of a more equitable and just society, governed by the rule of law."

"We remain concerned by the PRC's weak rule of law, arbitrary detentions, torture in custody, and continued violations and abuses of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of individuals inside its borders," it added.

READ: Egypt sends medical supplies to US in support of Trump

Experts online have highlighted the hypocrisy of the calls to release political prisoners in China whilst there are 60,000 in Egypt, one of the US' biggest allies.


Others drew attention to US citizen Mohamed Amashah, a political prisoner detained in Egypt who has asthma and autoimmune disease which makes him vulnerable to coronavirus.

Amashah was arrested after holding a sign in Tahrir Square with the words "Freedom for prisoners" written across it last year. Last month he began a hunger strike to protest against his unfair detention.

In January this year Mustafa Kassem became the first US citizen to die in an Egyptian jail after being denied medical care by prison authorities and died of heart failure after going on hunger strike.

Trump has continued to turn a blind eye to Egypt's human rights abuses, at one time calling President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi his "favourite dictator".

The tweet and press statement directed at China comes at the same time the US praised Egypt for its generous donation of medical supplies.

On 21 April a military aircraft carrying anaesthesia, antibiotics, body bags, masks and testing swabs arrived in Dulles International Airport in what was widely interpreted as a gesture by Egypt to show support for Trump and the US-Egypt alliance.

The decision to send the medical aid drew widespread criticism since Egypt's health system is close to collapse and 13 per cent of its medics are infected due to the severe lack of PPE available to them.

Egyptians have been asking for several weeks why their country is giving away protective equipment to its allies including the UK and Italy, whilst its own doctors are in serious danger due to shortages.

READ: Ramy Shaath's family condemns Egypt's decision to add him to 'terror list'

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