Writers in Prison (15)
Li Tie (李铁，pen name: Hua Hanwu, Jiuding Baotang, born in 1962), a freelance writer from Wuhan city, Hubei province, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison with additional two years deprivation of political rights on charges of “subversion of state power” for writing and publishing articles on the internet.
During the past decade, Li Tie has written many online articles promoting democracy, constitutional government, and direct local elections. Li has also organized activities to honour the memory of Lin Zhao (林昭), the well-known Beijing University student imprisoned in the 1950s and executed in 1968 for her views and writings.
Detained in September 2010 and arrested the next month, Li was tried in April 2011 but not sentenced until January 2012. Li’s family had originally hired human rights lawyer Jin Guanghong (金光鸿) to represent Li, but Jin was never allowed to meet with his client and was subjected to enforced disappearance about 10 days before the trial. In waiting eight months to issue its verdict, the court violated Article 168 of the Criminal Procedure Law, which dictates that a court has a maximum of two-and-a-half months to issue a verdict after it accepts a case.
At Li’s trial, his mother and daughter were the only supporters of Li permitted to attend. They reported that the “evidence” the prosecutors offered against Li included the following: articles Li wrote criticizing the government, in particular his online article titled “Dignity Is the Paramount Necessity of Human Beings” (人以尊严为天); his membership in the China Social Democracy Party; his participation in discussions hosted on “reactionary” websites, and his “reactionary” comments made at gatherings with friends.
During the trial, the prosecutors argued that Li’s articles and speech demonstrated that he has “anti-government thoughts”, and because he has such thoughts, it should be presumed that he would engage in anti-government actions, and thus he should be found guilty of “subversion”. Li’s lawyer argued for his client’s innocence, and in Li’s statement to the court, he said that he was innocent because his words and deeds were in accordance with the Constitution, which gives Chinese citizens the right to freedom of expression.
Protesting against the organizers of the London Book Fair 2012 who have not featured in their programme any writers imprisoned by the Chinese regime, this blog will be highlighting one such writer every day leading to the book fair. Although this will only show the tip of the iceberg of today’s ‘literary persecution’ under the rule of the CCP, I hope it will make more people realize the necessity of our daily question: Why haven’t British Council, Reed Exhibitions and London Book Fair invited Liu Xiaobo and other writers imprisoned by the CCP?
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.