Tie Liu (铁流)

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Tie Liu (铁流)

Tie Liu 铁流


*Previously under medical watch

Tie Liu 铁流

Crime: Illegal business activity

Length of Punishment: 30 months, suspended for four years

Court: Qingyang District People’s Court

Trial Date: February 25, 2015

Sentencing Date: February 25, 2015

Dates of Detention/Arrest: September 14, 2014 (detained); October 23, 2014 (arrested); February 25, 2015 (released)

Date of Birth: May 29, 1933

Medical Condition(s): High blood pressure, blood clot, prostate illness, urinary frequency

Place of Incarceration: Chengdu City Detention Center (Sichuan Province)


Beijing police summoned 82-year old writer Tie Liu (real name Huang Zerong ) from his home just after midnight on September 14, 2014, on suspicion of “creating a disturbance.” They confiscated publications and computers, and also took away his caregiver, Huang Jing (黄静), and a friend who had been staying in his home. Later that day, police put both Tie and Huang under criminal detention on the same charge. When arresting Tie Liu over a month later, officials added “illegal business activity” to the list of charges. Tie Liu’s initial detention stems from an online essay criticizing Liu Yunshan (刘云山), a member of the Politburo Standing Committee and head of the propaganda department. The subsequent “illegal business activity” charge is apparently due to his assistance in printing memoirs he wrote for elderly individuals who lived through the Maoist era, in a journal called “Small Traces of the Past” 《往事微痕》. Police arrested Huang for assisting Tie Liu with his work.

During a meeting with his lawyer in September 2014, Tie said he was treated at an emergency unit of the Red Cross Hospital in Beijing after fainting and suffering from incontinence following overnight interrogations. He had been interrogated for three nights straight, from 10pm to 10am. Already in poor health due to old age and over 20 years spent in labor camps, Tie Liu said that his physical condition has drastically deteriorated during his current detention. He is suffering from high blood pressure, blood clot, prostate illness, and urinary frequency. Authorities denied his lawyers’ lawyers Zhou Shifeng (周世峰) and Liu Xiaoyuan (刘晓原)’s request for release on medical grounds. According to China’s Public Security Bureau Regulations, individuals above 70 years old are exempt from being incarcerated at detention facilities. In late November, Tie Liu was transferred to Chengdu, his birthplace. The procuratorate later indicted Huang on a sole “illegal business activity” charge.

On February 25, the Sichuan court convicting Tie Liu of “illegal business activity” but issuing a suspended sentence in a case fraught with rights abuses. The trial at the Qingyang District People’s Court in Chengdu lasted for about one hour, and the court sentenced Liu to two-and-a-half years in prison, suspended for four years, and issued him a fine of 30,000 RMB (approx. $4,900). Tie’s caretaker, Huang Jing (黄静), was tried as an accomplice in the same case and sentenced to one year in prison, suspended for two years, and fined 5,000 RMB (more than $800). Both were let go after the trial. According to Chinese law, they will only serve prison time based on the court’s decision if they are found to commit further crimes during the periods of their suspended sentences. A plea deal was apparently struck before the proceedings that led to the suspended sentences. Tie and Huang both said they “admitted guilt” when the presiding judge asked in court, and they each requested reduced punishments.

Born in 1933, Tie Liu joined the Communist Party’s New Democratic Youth League in 1949 and later worked at various government design bureaus beginning in 1953. He later worked at Chengdu Daily as a journalist. An outspoken critic of government policies, Tie Liu was labeled a “rightist” in 1957 and then was sent to labor camps from 1958 to 1980. After his release, Tie Liu continued to write and became a columnist for an overseas website. In 2010, he founded a charity, Tie Liu News Foundation, to assist persecuted journalists and writers. In addition, along with other journalists, Tie Liu participated in drafting open letters, including one to the National People’s Congress requesting the abolition of media censorship. Since Tie Liu was taken away, both his wife and son have been barred from leaving China.

*CHRD’s Watch List of Detainees and Prisoners of Conscience in Need of Medical Attention

Further Information

CHRD, 82-Year-Old Dissident Writer Found “Guilty,” Given 2.5-Year Suspended Sentence, February 25, 2015

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