Liu Feiyue (刘飞跃)
December 19, 2016 Comments Off on Liu Feiyue (刘飞跃)
Liu Feiyue 刘飞跃
Crime: Inciting subversion of state power
Length of Punishment: N/A
Trial Date: N/A
Sentencing Date: N/A
Dates of Detention/Arrest: November 17, 2016 (detained); November 18, 2016 (criminally detained)
Place of Incarceration: Suizhou City No. 1 Detention Center (Hubei Province)
Liu Feiyue, Hubei-based founder and director of the NGO Civil Rights & Livelihood Watch (民生观察), was taken into police custody on the evening of November 17, 2016, and put under criminal detention the next day on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power.” Police also searched Liu’s home and confiscated computers, printed materials, and other personal items. Liu had apparently messaged other activists on November 17, saying that national security officers had taken him to a “mountain village,” referring to a location where he was previously detained under “forced travels” and “soft detentions” during politically “sensitive” periods. Liu’s family was told of his detention status on November 18 at the Suizhou Public Security Bureau, where they had gone to ask about his whereabouts. The family was not given an official detention notice, and authorities have warned them not to speak out, and refused to let them send clothes or money for Liu to use in the detention center. In addition, judicial authorities harassed Liu’s original lawyer and threatened him into not taking on the case. On December 6, police finally told a new lawyer, Zhang Keke (张科科), that Liu was detained since he had “published articles that opposed the socialist system.”
Suizhou police formally arrested Liu on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power” on December 23, 2016.
Liu’s criminal detention—and on suspicion of a serious political crime—is one sign of the brunt being borne by Chinese rights advocacy NGOs under Xi Jinping government’s campaigns aimed at suppressing civil society. Before his current detention, Liu had just been taken into custody in October 2016, prior to the opening of the 6th Plenum of the Chinese Communist Party. During the period, police kept Liu at a guesthouse, and tortured and threatened him with more punishment if he continued his advocacy work—a warning being played out in his current detention. Police also detained Liu in August 2016 as part of “stability maintenance” operations before the G20 Summit in Hangzhou.
Born in 1970 in Suizhou City, Liu Feiyue has frequently been harassed, beaten, and detained by police since founding the website Civil Rights & Livelihood Watch, in 2006. The website has reported on a wide range of rights abuses, collecting information from and about victims of forced evictions and demolitions, secret detentions, problems faced by migrant workers, unpaid teachers, and rural children who have been forced to drop out of school. Notably, the group has been a leading source of civil society information on forced commitment of activists and dissidents to psychiatric institutions, having documented hundreds of such cases and produced regular reports on the particular rights violations of this form of illegal detention. Since police took him into custody, many petitioners—those who lodge grievances and seek redress—have called for his release, in large part since his website has been an available space for them to share stories about their personal experiences.
In 1998, Liu Feiyue joined the Hubei chapter of the banned China Democracy Party, and soon after began researching and publishing articles about non-violent civil and political rights movements. A participant in many advocacy campaigns, Liu was among a group of activists who launched a movement in 2003 urging the Chinese government to implement political reforms. The following year, he gathered over 500 signatures from individuals seeking more affordable prices for medications, in a drive supporting the right to health. Liu has worked as a teacher during some of his time as a right defender. In retaliation for his continuing activism, authorities have also targeted his family and threatened to deny his son the right to education.