Li Tie (李铁)

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Li Tie (李铁)

Li Tie  李铁


Current Detention

Crime: Subversion of state power

Length of Punishment: 10 years’ imprisonment

Court: Wuhan Intermediate People’s Court

Trial date: April 18, 2011

Sentencing date:  January 18, 2012

Dates of Detention/Arrest:  September 15, 2010 (detained), October 22, 2010 (arrested); September 14, 2020 (released)

Place of Detention: Huangzhou Prison (Huanggang City, Hubei Province)


Detained in September of 2010 and arrested the next month, Li Tie , from Wuhan City in Hubei Province, was tried in April of 2011 but not sentenced until January of 2012. Li’s family had originally hired human rights lawyer Jin Guanghong(金光 鸿) to represent Li, but Jin was never allowed to meet with his client and was subjected to enforced disappearance about 10 days before the trial. In waiting eight months to issue its verdict, the court violated Article 168 of the Criminal Procedure Law, which dictates that a court has a maximum of two-and-a-half months to issue a verdict after it accepts a case.

At Li’s trial, his mother and daughter were the only supporters of Li permitted to attend. They reported that the “evidence” the procuratorate offered against Li included the following: articles Li wrote criticizing the government, in particular his online article titled “Human Beings’ Heaven Is Human Dignity” (人以尊严为天); his membership in the China Social Democracy Party; his participation in discussions hosted on “reactionary” websites, and his “reactionary” comments made at gatherings with friends. During the trial, the prosecutors argued that Li’s articles and speech demonstrated that he has “anti-government thoughts,” and because he has such thoughts, it should be presumed that he would engage in anti-government actions, and thus he should be found guilty of “subversion.” Li’s lawyer argued for his client’s innocence, and in Li’s statement to the court, he said that he was innocent because his words and deeds were in accordance with the Constitution, which gives Chinese citizens the right to freedom of expression.

Li was released on September 14, 2020 at the end of his sentence. He reportedly developed high blood pressure in prison. Li’s family thanked his supporters after his release but Li is reportedly unable to contact the outside world.

Born on March 29, 1959, Li has also organized activities to honor the memory of Lin Zhao (林 昭), the well-known Beijing University student jailed in the 1950s and executed by the government in 1968 for her views and writings. In the decade before his detention, Li had written many online articles promoting democracy, constitutional government, and direct local elections.

Further Information

 Submission to UN on Case of Li Tie, August 13, 2012, CHRD

Chinese Democracy Activist Li Tie Jailed for Ten Years for ‘Subversion’, January 18, 2012, CHRD

Subversion Charge against Little-Known Activist Indicates Heightened Crackdown on Dissent in China, November 22, 2010, CHRD

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