Olympics “Protest Zones” Applicant Sent to Re-education through LaborComments Off on Olympics “Protest Zones” Applicant Sent to Re-education through Labor
(Chinese Human Rights Defenders, September 24, 2008) – On September 23, Liu Xueli (刘学立), a petitioner and activist against forcible land appropriation from Henan Province, was sent to a local Re-education through Labor (RTL) camp. Liu had been under residential surveillance (house arrest) after he submitted an application to protest at the “Protest Zones” in Beijing during the Olympics.
At 2:45 p.m. yesterday, Liu was forcibly dragged into a car by policemen from Song County Public Security Bureau (PSB). Police told Liu that they were going to have a “chat” at the PSB. Hours later, Liu was told that he was to be sent to RTL. However, Liu was not presented with a formal written RTL order and was not informed of the length of, or the reasons for, the punishment.
CHRD calls for Liu’s immediate and unconditional release. CHRD believes that Liu has been detained solely for peaceful expression of opinion and petitioning. The Chinese government has violated Liu’s right to freedom of expression, a right guaranteed in Articles 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which China has signed as well as Article 35 of the Chinese Constitution. The Chinese government has also violated Article 41 of the Constitution, which guarantees citizens’ right to complain about government misconduct.
In addition, his rights to due process, free and fair trial and legal counsel have been violated because he has been sent to RTL without trial or access to lawyers. These rights are guaranteed under the Criminal Procedure Law of the People’s Republic of China, as well as Article 9 of the ICCPR.
Liu, 42, is a village representative from No.2 Group, Bopo Village, Kuqu Township, Song County, Luoyang City, Henan Province. Liu has been petitioning for years after the village land was forcibly appropriated by the local government. In 2004, Liu was sent to one year of RTL for “disturbing social order”. Liu continued to petition upon his release.
In early August, together with Li Jincheng (李金成), a petitioner from Xinjiang Province, Liu submitted an application to protest at the official “Protest Zones”. They were told that their application had been approved, and that they could return in nine days’ time to obtain a written permit. However, Li “disappeared” on August 8 near the Bird’s Nest Stadium in Beijing, and nobody has been able to contact him since. On August 6, Liu was seized by the Beijing police while he was asleep. Beijing police handed him over to Henan interceptors in Beijing, who forcibly sent Liu back to his hometown in Song County where he was put under residential surveillance. Those monitoring Liu told him in late August that his case would be ‘dealt with’ in October and that he might face more serious punishment.