Case History: Liu Feiyue
On 5 March 2014 it was confirmed that human rights defender and founder of the human rights website Civil Rights and Livelihood Watch, Mr Liu Feiyue, was placed under ten days' administrative detention. On the morning of 3 March 2014 Liu Feiyue was reportedly taken by police from his home in Suizhou city, Hubei province, after which contact with him was lost.
Liu Feiyue is the founder of the Civil Rights and Livelihood Watch (Minsheng Guancha -民生观察网), which was launched in 2005 and has documented cases of forced eviction, secret detention and other instances of human rights violations from all over the country. He has been repeatedly harassed, detained and subjected to periods of house arrest because of this work. Liu Feiyue first drew government attention for publishing essays on state corruption and non-violent movements, for which he was detained for 15 days in 1996.
On 5 March 2014 it was confirmed that human rights defender and founder of the human rights website Civil Rights and Livelihood Watch, Mr Liu Feiyue, has been placed under ten days' administrative detention. On the morning of 3 March 2014 Liu Feiyue was reportedly taken by police from his home in Suizhou city, Hubei province, after which contact with him was lost.
On 5 March 2014, the Civil Rights and Livelihood Watch website confirmed that Liu Feiyue has been placed under ten days' administrative detention, activating a suspended sentence which had been initially handed down to him on 11 January 2014. The original sentence was given to Liu Feiyue following his inquiries to police on behalf of three petitioners who had gone to Suizhou city on 11 January 2014 to see him. The three were reportedly intercepted by police, beaten and detained. Liu Feiyue went to the police station to demand their release before he himself was detained and then given a suspended ten days administrative detention sentence, and then released. The three petitioners were held for between five and ten days, and were then forcibly returned to their home provinces.
It is believed that the activation of the ten-day sentence is as a result of Liu Feiyue's refusal to stop publishing articles on his website highlighting human rights abuses during the meeting of the National People's Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Congress (CPPCC), which run from the 5-13 March and 3-12 March respectively. Prior to the opening of the CPPCC, national security officers visited Liu Feiyue and warned him not to leave his home and not to publish articles for the duration of the two events. Liu Feiyue reportedly responded that while he could accept not leaving his home, he could not guarantee that he would not publish any articles, given that such a demand had no legal basis. Following this, he was taken away by police.
Each year in the run up to the sitting of the NPC and CPPCC, human rights defenders all over China are placed under increased surveillance, and many are detained or subjected to house arrest. On 5 March 2013, Liu Feiyue was also taken from his home by police and held for 12 days before being released on 17 March. Front Line Defenders is concerned that the current detention of Liu Feiyue constitutes a direct violation of his right to freedom of opinion and expression and, further, that it is indicative of a broader nationwide campaign to silence human rights defenders during times perceived as of political sensitivity.
Front Line Defenders has learned that human rights defender Mr Liu Feiyue was allowed to return home at around 4pm on 17 March 2013. He had been missing for 12 days after being taken away from his home in Suizhou city, Hubei province by local police.
While Front Line Defenders welcomes the release of Liu Feiyue, it reiterates its concern at his detention and at the undue restrictions of free movement placed on human rights defenders, in the context of the governmental meetings held in Beijing. Front Line Defenders urges the authorities to guarantee in all circumstances that human rights defenders in China are able to carry out their legitimate and peaceful human rights activities free of all restrictions, including judicial harassment.
On 5 March 2013, human rights defender Mr Liu Feiyue was taken from his home by police in Hubei Province. One week later, he remains missing with no further information available on his whereabouts.
At approximately 5.30pm on 5 March 2013, local police in Suizhou City, Hubei Province arrived at the house of Liu Feiyue and escorted him away. Liu Feiyue had been under increased surveillance in the weeks prior to this incident, due to the convening of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Congress and the National People's Congress in Beijing, which began on 3 and 5 March 2013 respectively. Liu Feiyue has been repeatedly targeted in the past during politically sensitive periods and has often been brought into police custody without any legal procedures.
In addition to Liu Feiyue, it is reported that dozens of other human rights defenders have been placed under house arrest or have had their freedom of movement restricted owing to the governmental meetings taking place in Beijing. Those under increased surveillance include Messrs Hu Jia, He Depu and Xu Zhiyong in Beijing, Ms Liu Ping and Mr Li Sihua in Xinyu City, Jiangxi Province and Mr Feng Zhenghu in Shanghai.
Front Line Defenders expresses serious concern for the security and physical and psychological integrity of Liu Feiyue, and believes his detention in an unknown location to be motivated by his legitimate and peaceful work to defend human rights in Hubei Province. Front Line Defenders expresses further concern at the undue restrictions on the free movement of the other aforementioned human rights defenders.