US 'disturbed' by death of Chinese activist Cao Shunli

Prominent Chinese human rights activist Cao Shunli stands in front of an emblem of the Chinese Communist Party during an interview in the central business district of Beijing March 23, 2013 Cao Shunli's lawyers say she was denied medical treatment for several months

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The United States has said it is "deeply disturbed" by reports of the death of activist Cao Shunli at a hospital in Beijing.

Cao's lawyers said she had died in detention after being denied medical treatment for several months.

The human rights activist was arrested at Beijing airport in September, when she attempted to board a flight to Geneva to attend a UN training course.

She had previously served at least two terms in prison camps for her activism.

Human Rights Watch said that Cao was only transferred to hospital in February, despite her medical condition worsening in her months in detention.

Cao had advocated for the right of independent civilians to participate in the Chinese government's drafting of human rights reports.

US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that the US had repeatedly raised concerns about Cao Shunli's detention and deteriorating health with the Chinese authorities.

Friends of human right activist Cao Shunli stand in front of an intensive care unit where Cao is hospitalized as they are not allowed to go inside of the unit at a hospital in Beijing (1 March 2014) Cao Shunli was transferred to a Beijing hospital in February

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