Submission to UN on Liu Jiacai – August 26, 2013

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Submission to:

Working Group on Arbitrary Detention

Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders

Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association

Allegation Letter

on behalf of LIU Jiacai, citizen of the People’s Republic of China

Alleging Arbitrary Detention & Reprisal Against a Human Rights Defender


1. Family name:  LIU (刘)

2. First name:  Jiacai (家财)

3. Sex: M

4. Birth date or age (at the time of detention):  1965 (47 years old)

5. Nationality/Nationalities:  Han Chinese

6. Identity document (if any):  

7. Profession and/or activity (if believed to be relevant to the arrest/detention): Formerly employed in the engineering field, Liu Jiacai has engaged in activism for more than a decade, including by posting writings online and gathering activists for discussions on human rights and social justice.

8. Address of usual residence:  Yichang City, Hubei Province

II. Arrest

1. Date of arrest:  August 2, 2013

2. Place of arrest (as detailed as possible):  Yichang City, Hubei Province

3. Forces who carried out the arrest or are believed to have carried it out: National security officers from Yichang City, Hubei Province

4. Did they show a warrant or other decision by a public authority? Yes

III. Detention

1. Date of detention: August 2, 2013

2. Duration of detention: From August 2, 2013 through the present (i.e., his detention is ongoing).

3. Forces holding the detainee under custody: Yichang City Public Security Bureau

4. Places of detention (indicate any transfer and present place of detention): Liu was initially detained at Yichang Detention House in Yichang City, Hubei Province, and then transferred by August 12 to Yichang City No. 1 Detention Center, where he is currently detained.

5. Authorities that ordered the detention: Yichang City Public Security Bureau

6. Reasons for the detention imputed by the authorities: “Disrupting public order” (initial 10-day administrative detention) and “inciting subversion of state power” (ongoing criminal detention)

7. Relevant legislation applied (if known): If Liu’s case goes to trial, Article 105 (2) of the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China (“inciting subversion of state power”) stipulates a fixed-term imprisonment of not less than five years, criminal detention, public surveillance or deprivation of political rights to those who incite others by spreading rumors or slanders or any other means to subvert the State power or overthrow the socialist system.

IV. Describe the circumstances of the arrest and/or the detention and indicate precise reasons why you consider the arrest or detention to the arbitrary

Liu Jiacai was criminally detained on August 12 on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power” after serving a 10-day administrative detention on a charge of “disrupting public order.” Both his administrative punishment and ongoing detention are believed to be reprisal for his pro-democracy and rights activism. In particular, Liu has been detained as part of a nationwide crackdown against peaceful assembly and association that to date has resulted in the criminal detention of more than 50 Chinese activists, more than two dozen of whom have been formally arrested.

After returning to his hometown of Yichang, Hubei Province from Yunnan Province (where he had lost his job in late 2012), Liu allegedly gathered fellow activists in Yichang for “dinner parties,” where they talked about issues of rights and social justice. Liu had also posted and disseminated online writings and views about legal rights (both his own and others’). In retaliation, authorities warned and questioned him on several occasions, and placed him under “soft detention” (house arrest) before finally taking him into custody on August 2, 2013. Discussing human rights and social justice has been a central activity of the “New Citizens’ Movement,” a loose grouping of activists that since 2011 has promoted political and legal reforms. Liu has supported the movement as well as activists associated with it who have been detained since March 2013 as part of the ongoing crackdown around China.

Under the Working Group’s criteria for determining when a deprivation of liberty is arbitrary, the circumstances of Mr. Liu’s detention satisfy Category II (i.e., when the deprivation of liberty results from the exercise of the rights or freedoms guaranteed by articles 7, 13, 14, 18, 19, 20, and 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)).

V. Indicate internal steps, including domestic remedies, taken especially with the legal and administrative authorities, particularly for the purpose of establishing the detention and, as appropriate, their results or the reasons why such steps or remedies were ineffective or why they were not taken.

Background and additional information relating to previous arbitrary detentions as well as violation of the rights to freedom of opinion and expression:

Arbitrary detention and harassment

In 2002, Liu Jiacai was imprisoned for two years in apparent retaliation for activism that included forming an independent labor union and participating in efforts to expose corruption and memorialize the anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre. After his release, Liu eventually found work in Yunnan Province and continued to engage in pro-democracy activities online. In Yunnan, provincial authorities warned him on several occasions about his rights activism, and also confiscated his laptop computer. In late 2012, his employer in Yunnan informed him that the firm could no longer cope with pressure from authorities that his activism had attracted, and forced him from his job.

Date Submitted: August 26, 2013

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