‘Investigation Period’ Extended for Detained Activist Intellectual Liu Xiaobo

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‘Investigation Period’ Extended for Detained Activist Intellectual Liu Xiaobo

(Chinese Human Rights Defenders, September 1, 2009) – On August 31, detained Beijing writer and intellectual Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波) met with his lawyers Ding Xihui (丁锡奎) and Shang Baojun (尚宝军) for the third time since his detention began last December. The lawyers revealed to CHRD that the police have extended the period of investigation of Liu’s case for an additional month, through September 23. Liu appears to be in good spirits.

On August 31, Liu and his lawyers met for thirty minutes at Beijing No.1 Detention Center. The police were present throughout the meeting despite requests from the lawyers to meet with Liu without monitoring. Liu told his lawyers that he is being interrogated once a week. He is allowed to leave his cell for thirty minutes every day, but must remain in the corridors of the detention center and is not allowed out into the open air; he is permitted to watch TV and read a restricted selection of books.

On August 24, Liu’s lawyers were told by the Beijing police that they had extended the investigation period of Liu’s case for another month. According to the Criminal Procedural Law (CPL), after a suspect is formally arrested, the police have a maximum of two months to investigate the case. After that, the period can be extended three times. Altogether, the investigation period can last for a maximum of seven months (CPL Articles 124, 126 and 127). The police must then either release the suspect or transfer her or his case to the Procuratorate for public prosecution.

In July, the Beijing Public Security Bureau (PSB) denied Liu’s lawyers’ request to release Liu on bail to await trial. The lawyers are not optimistic about an approval if they repeat such a request.

According to Shang Baojun, “there is still hope for Liu Xiaobo’s release prior to the 60th Anniversary of the founding of the PRC on October 1. However, once past the anniversary, the likelihood of release dims.”


Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波), a prominent Beijing-based writer and intellectual, has been held in custody since December 8, 2008. Liu is detained for his involvement withCharter 08, a manifesto calling for bold reforms promoting democracy and human rights in China. It was published on December 9, 2008, one day after Liu’s detention. Liu was subjected to “residential surveillance” from December 8, 2008 to June 23, 2009. He was then formally arrested on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power” on June 23 and transferred to Beijing No.1 Detention Center, where he is currently held. If convicted, Liu faces a maximum of fifteen years of fixed-term imprisonment. Since the adoption of the revised Chinese Criminal Code in 1997, the crime of “inciting subversion of state power”, stipulated by Article 105(2), has been regularly used by the authorities to criminalize freedom of expression.

For more information, please see:

“Arrested Dissident Writer Liu Xiaobo Meets with Lawyers for First Time”, June 26, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class9/Class10/200906/20090627043823_16038.html

“Liu Xiaobo Formally Arrested for ‘Inciting Subversion of State Power’”, June 24, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class9/Class10/200906/20090624153357_15987.html

“Lawyer for Liu Xiaobo Submits Formal Request Demanding Details of Activist’s Detention”, February 12, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class9/Class10/200902/20090212040242_13604.html

“Liu Xiaobo under Residential Surveillance at Undisclosed Location”, January 2, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class9/Class98/200901/20090102142014_12798.html

“Crackdown on Charter 08 Widens as More Activists are Interrogated and Intimidated”, December 16, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class9/Class98/200812/20081216212554_12417.html

“Chinese Government Responds with a Crackdown on Activists for Commemorating 60th Anniversary of UDHR”, December 10, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class9/Class98/200812/20081210085443_12282.html

“’Inciting Subversion of State Power’: A Legal Tool for Prosecuting Free Speech in China”, January 8, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class9/Class11/200801/20080108225721_7032.html

Media contacts for this release:

Renee Xia, International Director (English and Mandarin): +852 8191 6937

Jiang Yingying, Researcher (English and Mandarin): +852 8170 0237

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