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UA 031/21
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25.3.2021

The procuratorate has officially approved the charge against Li Qiaochu as «inciting subversion of state power», and her case is still under investigation.

Currently, Li Qiaochu is reportedly being held at Linyi People’s Hospital.

We encourage you to continue taking action and raise awareness of Li Qiaochu’s case. We will update Li’s UA should there be a major development in relation to her situation and case.

In the meantime, please amplify this case on your social media to help ensure that Li Qiaochu has a fair trial as well as unrestricted access to medical care and to remind the authorities that the world is watching what happens next!


Activist detained for reporting torture

AI-Index: ASA 17/3784/2021

Prominent human rights defender Li Qiaochu was taken away by police on 6 February 2021, shortly before the Lunar New Year. According to a detention notice her parents were asked to sign, she might be facing charges related to subversion. Li’s detention is suspected to be related to her efforts to publicize the torture and ill-treatment at Linshu County Detention Centre. Detained incommunicado for a month, there is concern that Li Qiaochu is at risk of torture or other ill-treatment, as she remains without access to her family or a lawyer of her choice.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Li Qiaochu (李翘楚) is a feminist and researcher on labour issues who has long been involved in issues concerning the equal rights for workers, women and other members of Chinese society. Her research has covered topics such as policies on social protection for retired workers. When Beijing authorities cleared and evicted the «low income population» in 2017, Li worked with volunteers to compile and disseminate information about the most affected communities in order to help the expelled migrant workers find new jobs and affordable alternative accommodation. Li also actively took part in various national #MeToo campaigns. She compiled data, drafted reports and posted online messages of her support for the movement.

In June 2019, Li was diagnosed with depression and had to be on regular medication. However, this did not stop her from her activism. With the outbreak of COVID-19, Li again volunteered to help both online and offline with epidemic prevention. She distributed face masks to sanitation workers and guided pregnant women of the affected communities to help each other out. Having observed the lack of gender perspective, especially with respect to prevention of gender-based violence in the practices of some hospitals, she immediately worked with a group of volunteers to set out recommendations.

Li’s activism led to frequent police harassment. In early December 2019, public security officers began to be stationed outside her house and monitored her on her way to and from work, which seriously contravened her rights to privacy and freedom of movement.

On 31 December 2019, Li was summoned by the police and held in the Beijing Public Security Bureau for 24 hours. During her detention, the police reportedly refused to give her adequate medical care. As most of the questioning related to Xu Zhiyong, Li Qiaochu decided to reveal her treatment by the police online and called for more public attention for others detained in relation to the gatherings in Xiamen. As a result, Li was arrested on 16 February 2020 and had been detained incommunicado under «residential surveillance at a designated location» before being released on bail on 19 June 2020.

Since 26 December 2019, police across the country have been summoning or detaining participants who took part in an informal gathering of lawyers and activists in Xiamen earlier that month. Ding Jiaxi and Xu Zhiyong are just two of the many participants detained and are currently facing charges related to subversion.

On 6 February 2021, Li Qiaochu sent out two tweets and disclosed the complaints she filed against the ill-treatment and inadequacy of conditions in Linshu County Detention Centre. Shortly after, she received a call from a Beijing police officer and was asked to come out of her home to «have a chat», at which point she was abruptly detained by Shandong police officers and taken to Linyi City. Li is currently in quarantine at a local hospital in Linyi City, after which she is expected be transferred to Linyi Municipal Detention Centre.

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