Incarcerated Human Rights Defender Liu Jie Tortured

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Incarcerated Human Rights Defender Liu Jie Tortured

(Chinese Human Rights Defenders, June 11, 2008) – CHRD learned today that Liu Jie (刘杰), human rights activist and petitioner currently serving 18 months of Re-education through Labor (RTL), was tortured in late May.

On May 22[1], Liu was transferred from Qiqihar RTL camp to Harbin Drug Rehabilitation Center. Soon after her arrival at the Rehabilitation Center, Liu was reportedly forced to sit on a “Tiger Bench”– the torture victim is made to sit upright on a long bench, her hands tied behind her back. Her thighs are fastened with a rope to the bench while her feet are raised off the floor by bricks placed under her feet. This puts extreme strain on the knees and is a very painful form of torture, especially for an extended period of time—for five consecutive days.

Liu was transferred from the RTL camp to the Rehabilitation Center together with 29 other female detainees. The detainees, mostly Falun Gong practitioners and drug addicts and four petitioners, were transferred after they protested against the harsh working conditions in the RTL camp. Between March and May, the detainees were forced to work over 14 hours a day to make crafts for an upcoming traditional festival. The detainees alleged that the chemical dye provided by the RTL camp, which stained their hands red, was poisonous. Reportedly, Liu was tortured as part of the Rehabilitation Center’s ‘effort’ to instil ‘discipline’ among the newcomers.

Though, the Rehabilitation Center allows families of the detainees four visits a month, which is an improvement from the RTL camp.


CHRD reiterates its call for Liu’s immediate and unconditional release. CHRD believes that Liu has been detained solely for peaceful expression of opinion and organizing fellow citizens to voice their concerns and defend their human rights. The authorities have abused Liu’s rights to freedom of expression and of association guaranteed in, respectively, Articles 19 and 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which China has signed. These rights are also enshrined in Article 35 of the Chinese Constitution. The right to defend human rights is guaranteed in the Declaration to Protect Human Rights Defenders, which China endorsed in 1999.

CHRD calls on the Chinese government to respect the UN Convention against Torture, which China ratified in 1988, to ensure that Liu is not tortured or subjected to other forms of cruel and inhuman treatment.


Liu is from Beian City in Heilongjiang Province. In the early 1990s, Liu signed a contract with a state-run farm in Heilongjiang Province to take over a dairy business. In 1997, after Liu’s family had turned the dairy into a profitable business, the local government broke the contract and repossessed the dairy. After having exhausted all legal avenues to reclaim the farm, she began petitioning the central government.

Since 2003, Liu has annually organized petitioners to submit open letters advocating legal and political reforms. On October 8, 2007, Liu released a public letter signed by 12,150 petitioners calling on leaders at the 17th Party Congress to reform. Three days later, Liu was seized by the Beijing Police and sent back for detention in Beian City. During her detention, Beian City Public Security Bureau (PSB) sent her case to the Procuratorate but the latter refused to prosecute her due to lack of evidence. Liu was then sent to 18 months of RTL for “Instigating trouble and disturbing social order” on November 12, 2007.

For more information, please see:

Human Rights Defender Liu Jie’s Re-education through Labor Decision Upheld (February 22, 2008)
Human Rights Defender Liu Jie Denied Treatment for Eye Illness at RTL Camp (December 28, 2007)
Human Rights Defender Liu Jie Sentenced to Re-Education through Labor (November 12, 2007)
Police Detain Organizers of Open Letter to 17th Party Congress
(October 23, 2007)

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