Land Rights Activist Liu Zhengyou Criminally Detained on Suspicion of “Fraud”

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Land Rights Activist Liu Zhengyou Criminally Detained on Suspicion of “Fraud”

(Chinese Human Rights Defenders, November 12, 2009) – Around one on November 11, Sichuan activist Liu Zhengyou (刘正有) was taken from his home by local police, and shortly thereafter criminally detained on suspicion of “fraud.” Eight officers also searched Liu’s apartment and copied the contents of his personal computer. According to Liu’s wife, he was taken to the Huidong Police Station by members of the Zigong City Public Security Bureau (PSB), and when relatives travelled to the station later that evening to visit him, they were told that he was already under criminal detention and not allowed to receive any visitors.

“The accusation of ‘fraud’ levied against Mr. Liu is completely groundless,” said Renee Xia, CHRD’s International Director. “Sadly, this is yet another case of police inventing charges to silence a vocal advocate for citizens’ rights.”

liu-and-activists
Mr. Liu, second from right, with fellow activists in a 2009 photo

Police have yet to provide Liu’s family with a formal detention notice. It is believed that officials are retaliating against Liu for his continued assistance to petitioners and victims of forced evictions as well as his outspoken reporting on human rights abuses. Liu’s work appears frequently on news websites, such as Boxun (www.boxun.com) and Canyu (www.canyu.org). CHRD recently featured an article he wrote on the establishment of black jails in Zigong City (available here, in Chinese). In 2006, Liu was one of seven Chinese housing rights activists to jointly receive the Housing Rights Defender Award, presented by the Geneva-based Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE).

CHRD believes that Mr. Liu is being arbitrarily detained for exercising his rights to freedom of expression, association and to defend the human rights of others. CHRD calls for his immediate release.

Background

Liu Zhengyou is a longtime activist and founder of a local rights-defense group responsible for providing assistance to petitioners and documenting local rights abuses. A farmer, construction worker and owner of a rural machine tool factory, Liu got his start as a land rights activist in 1993 when Zigong City officials began seizing farmland in and around the village where he was living. He was designated a leader by fellow farmers, and for the next decade Liu led the farmers in pursuing every available avenue of potential redress—filing lawsuits and appeals, petitioning, and writing letters to officials—without success. Liu has been detained on a number of occasions over the years for his activism, and in 2006 was prevented from leaving the country to attend a human rights training session in Geneva, Switzerland on the grounds that he was under “criminal investigation” for his role in leading a protest by villagers in Shandong Province who had lost their land to developers without proper compensation.

For more information, please see:

警方说刘正有被刑事拘 留, November 11, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200911/20091111084227_18237.html

四川自贡维权人士刘正 有遭刑事传唤, November 11, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200911/20091111084227_18237.html

“Seven Chinese Housing Rights Activists Honored with Prestigious International Human Rights Award,” January 9, 2007, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class9/Class13/200701/20070109235059_3068.html

“Liu Zhengyou: An Introduction,” April 12, 2006, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class9/Class13/200604/20060412002931_856.html

Media Contacts:

Renee Xia, International Director (English and Mandarin), +852 8191 6937 or +1 301 547 9286

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

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