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Sichuan Democracy Activist Liu Xianbin Criminally Detained for Subversion of State Power

(ChineseHuman Rights Defenders- June 29, 2010)Little more than a year after he was released following a decade inprison,convicted of “subversion of state power” in 1999, Sichuan democracyactivistLiu Xianbin (刘贤斌)hasonce again been criminally detained on the same charge. On June 28,policein Suining City, Sichuan Province detained Liu after raiding his home,and thenext day officers summoned, harassed, and threatened his wife and13-year olddaughter.“Unbowedby a lengthy sentence, Liu has returned topromoting human rights and democracy since his release and become amajorfigure in the community of activists in Sichuan. By once againdetaining himfor 'subversion,' the government is signaling a growing nervousnessover thesituation in the province, a hotspot for rights activism in recentyears,"said Renee Xia, CHRD’s International Director. Approximately14 National Security (guobao) officers from the SuiningCityPublic Security Bureau (PSB) arrived at Liu’s home on the afternoon ofJune 28.While some of the officers took Liu to the PSB station for questioning,othersremained to search his residence, confiscating two computer harddrives, tworemovable drives, Liu’s bank card, and records of payments received byLiu forarticles published on pro-democracy websites hosted overseas. Liu wascriminally detained on suspicion of “subversion of state power” atseveno’clock that evening, and is currently being held at the Suining CityDetentionCenter, according to the formal detention notice provided to his wife,ChenMingxian (陈明先).Thenext morning, National Security officerssummoned Chen and questioned her for approximately three hours aboutherhusband’s activities. Police officers also conducted an investigationat theschool attended by Liu and Chen’s 13-year old daughter, threatening herandleaving her shaken and in tears.Basedon comments made by police that Liu has beentoo “arrogant,” some believe that his detention comes as punishment forhis dedicationto democracy activism and human rights defense following his releasefromprison in November 2008. Though Liu is currently subject to threeyears’deprivation of his political rights as part of his 1999 sentence, hehas beeninvolved with a number of high-profile rights-related activities in thepastyear and a half, beginning with his support for Charter 08as a member of the original group of 303 signatories inDecember 2008. Liu has also continued to publish articles on humanrights anddemocracy since his release, and joined citizen efforts in support ofpersecuted activists, including Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波)and Chen Yunfei (陈云飞),actions which haveled police to summon and harass him on numerous occasions.CHRDcallsfor the immediate release of Liu Xianbin and the return of hisconfiscated property. Webelieve that the authorities inSuining City are punishing Liu for the nonviolent expression of hisopinionsand for his activities to promote democracy and human rights. AsLiu’s detention is clearly related to the exerciseof his rights of freedom of expression and peaceful association,guaranteed bythe Universal Declaration of Human Rights (specifically, Articles 19and 20), CHRDbelieves that Liu’s detention is arbitrary under the standards setforth by theUnited Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.CHRDurges the European Union to raise the case ofLiu Xianbin with the Chinese government during this week’s EU-ChinaHuman RightsDialogue in Madrid, demanding his release and the release of all otherprisonersof conscience. BackgroundLiuXianbin, born October 2, 1968, in Suining City,Sichuan Province, was sentenced to two and a half years in prison in1992 forhis participation in the 1989 pro-democracy movement. Following hisrelease, hededicated himself to democracy and human rights activism, and in 1998was afounding member of the Sichuan branch of the China Democracy Party(CDP). InAugust 1999, Liu was convicted of “subversion of state power” andsentenced to13 years’ imprisonment for his involvement with the CDP. Liu’s sentence also included an additional threeyears’ deprivation of political rights upon his release. Liu wasreleased onNovember 6, 2008. At the time of his most recent detention, Liu wasliving at Number2, 5th Floor, Unit 2, House B, Baicheng Jiayuan, Yanshi Street, SuiningCity,Sichuan Province.MediaContacts:ReneeXia, International Director (English andMandarin), +852 8191 6937 or +1 301 547 9286David Smalls, Researcher(English), +1 347 448 5285

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