Chinese rights lawyer ‘mysteriously’ dies in hospital

Pastor Bob Fu (AFP/Karen Bleier)
Updated 26 February 2018

Chinese rights lawyer ‘mysteriously’ dies in hospital

BEIJING: A close friend of a prominent Chinese human rights lawyer says the lawyer has “mysteriously” died in a military hospital.
Bob Fu, a religious activist who has known Li Baiguang for over a decade, says the government should be held accountable for Li’s death early Monday.
The sudden death of Li, who defended farmers and Christian pastors, raises questions about the welfare of those who have defied Chinese authorities.
A relative of Li told Fu that the lawyer died hours after being admitted to a hospital in eastern Jiangsu province for a minor stomach ache.
Fu says Li was “very healthy” despite having been “treated violently last year” and “threatened a number of times recently by the Chinese regime.”


Cambodia to ban elephant rides at Angkor temples

Updated 30 min 11 sec ago

Cambodia to ban elephant rides at Angkor temples

  • The Angkor archaeological complex in northern Siem Reap attracts the bulk of the kingdom’s tourists
  • Apsara authority plans to end the elephant rides by 2020
PHNOM PENH: Cambodia will ban all elephant rides at the country’s famed Angkor temple park by early next year, an official said Friday, a rare win for conservationists who have long decried the popular practice as cruel.
The Angkor archaeological complex in northern Siem Reap attracts the bulk of the kingdom’s foreign tourists — which topped six million in 2018 — and many opt for elephants rides around the ancient temples.
But these rides “will end by the start of 2020,” said Long Kosal, a spokesman with the Apsara Authority, which manages the park.
“Using elephants for business is not appropriate anymore,” he told AFP, adding that some of the animals were “already old.”
So far, five of the 14 working elephants have been transferred to a community forest about 40 kilometers (25 miles) away from the temples.
“They will live out their natural lives there,” Kosal said.
The company that owns the elephants will continue to look after them, he added.
Cambodia has long come under fire from animal rights groups for ubiquitous elephant rides on offer for tourists, also seen in neighboring Thailand, Vietnam and Laos.
The elephants are broken in during training and rights groups have accused handlers of overworking them.
In 2016, a female elephant died by the roadside after carrying tourists around the Angkor Wat temple complex in severely hot weather.
The animal had been working for around 45 minutes before she collapsed.