On 15 August 2008, Liu Jie was physically assaulted by a guard whom she had confronted about the ill-treatment of a fellow detainee in Harbin Drug Rehabilitation Centre. As Liu Jie had pushed the guard in self-defence while he was beating her, she was accused of attacking a member of staff. Liu Jie was then made to sit on an apparatus known as a 'Tiger Bench', which forced her to sit upright on a long bench with her hands tied behind her back, her thighs tied to the bench, and her feet raised off the floor by bricks under her feet, thus exerting extreme pressure on her knees and causing great pain. Liu Jie was previously forced to sit on a Tiger Bench for seven consecutive days.
Liu Jie was originally sentenced to 18 months in the RTL camp on 12 November 2007, for “instigating trouble” and “disturbing social order” for her role in organising a public letter signed by 12,150 petitioners in favour of political and legal reforms in China. Since her arrest on 11 October 2007, Liu Jie's health, particularly her eyesight, has deteriorated significantly, reportedly as a result of beatings sustained while in detention, which have exacerbated her poor vision. Following a medical examination on 20 December 2007, doctors stated that Liu Jie would go blind if she did not receive adequate medical treatment. This treatment is reportedly only available in Beijing, but the requests made by Liu Jie and her family to receive it have reportedly not been responded to. In addition to her rapidly deteriorating eyesight, Liu Jie also suffers from Cholecystitis and a heart condition.
Front Line believes that Liu Jie has been targeted as a result of her legitimate work in the defence of human rights, in particular her work to defend the rights of rural communities in China. In light of these reports of renewed torture and her deteriorating health, Front Line is particularly concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of Liu Jie.
Front Line is deeply concerned following reports that human rights defender Liu Jie has been tortured during her re-education through labour (RTL). Liu Jie is a defender of human rights in rural communities who has campaigned for political and legal reforms in China.
On 22 May 2008, Liu Jie was transferred from Qiqihar RTL camp to Harbin Drug Rehabilitation Centre where she has reportedly been tortured. The form of torture performed on Liu Jie is known as the “Tiger Bench”. She has been forced to sit upright on a long bench with her hands tied behind her back, her thighs tied to the bench, and her feet raised off the floor by bricks under her feet. This exerts extreme strain on her knees and causes great pain. Liu Jie was allegedly subjected to this form of torture for 5 consecutive days.
Liu Jie was transferred to the rehabilitation centre after protesting about the conditions under which she and other detainees were kept in Qiqihar RTL camp. There they are said to have worked for fourteen hours per day to make crafts with poisonous chemical dye which stained their hands. Torture in the rehabilitation centre was allegedly carried out to instill discipline in new detainees. On 12 November 2007, Liu Jie was originally sent to the RTL camp for “instigating trouble” and “disturbing social order” after having organised a public letter signed by 12,150 petitioners in favour of political and legal reforms in China.
Front Line believes that Liu Jie has been targeted as a result of her legitimate work in the defence of human rights, in particular her work to defend the rights of rural communities in China. Front Line is concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of Liu Jie.