US 'deeply concerned' by activist's death

The Obama administration said it was “deeply disturbed” by reports that human rights activist Cao Shunli has died at a hospital in Beijing.

“We offer our condolences to her family,” State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said in a statement.

“Chinese authorities detained Cao Shunli in Beijing on Sept. 14 while she was on her way to participate in civil society meetings in preparation for China’s Universal Periodic Review last October,” Psaki added.

Administration officials repeatedly raised concerns about Cao’s detention and deteriorating health with Chinese authorities, Psaki said.

A friend of the prominent activist told Reuters earlier this month that Cao had organ failure and only a few days to live after being denied medical treatment in detention.

“We continue to be concerned about the human rights situation in China and will continue to urge Chinese authorities to guarantee all Chinese citizens the protections and freedoms to which they are entitled under China's international human rights commitments,” Psaki said.