China – Disappearance of human rights defender Ms Liu Xizhen

As of the 3 October 2014 the whereabouts of human rights defender Ms Liu Xizhen are unknown. It is believed she is being held by police in an unofficial detention centre in Xinyu City, Jiangxi province.

Liu Xizhen is a human rights defender who has campaigned for Chinese Communist Party officials to disclose their assets and for the Chinese government to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

On 5 October 2014 Mr Huang Huimin, the husband of Liu Xizhen, informed the China-based Rights Defence Network that his wife had been detained by police in Beijing on 1 October after going to the capital to protest. He said she had been escorted back to Xinyu City in Jiangxi province by Xinyu City officials based in Bejiing on 2 October. Huang Huimin believes Li Xizhen was then placed in an unofficial detention centre, or black jail, located in the city. The last contact he had with her was on 2 October when she called him to say that she had been abducted by Xinyu City officials and was being taken back to that city.

Both Liu Xizhen and Huang Huimin have been subjected to various forms of abuse because of their work in defence of human rights. In April 2013 the couple were taken into police custody and interrogated about their involvement in the campaign calling on Chinese officials to disclose their assets and for the government to ratify the ICCPR. During their time in custody, Liu Xizhen was reportedly slapped, handcuffed to a chair for 24 hours and deprived of sleep, while her husband was also handcuffed to a chair and locked in a steel cage overnight.

In October 2013, Liu Xizhen was placed under ten days’ administrative detention to prevent her from appearing as a witness at the trial of fellow human rights defenders Ms Liu Ping and Messrs Li Sihua and Wei Zhongping in Xinyu City. At this time the police also raided the home of Liu Xizhen and Huang Huimin and confiscated a computer and two mobile phones. When the trial of the three human rights defenders resumed in December 2013 Liu Xizhen and Huang Huimin were placed under house arrest in order, once again, to prevent Liu Xizhen from being called as a witness.

On 1 March 2014, Liu Xizhen was detained in Beijing following a protest she participated in calling for “constitutional liberties” for the Chinese people. She was held for 30 days on a charge of “picking quarrels and provoking troubles” before being released on bail. On 17 June, in the days before the verdicts in the trials of Liu Ping, Li Sihua and Wei Zhongping were announced, Liu Xizhen and Huang Huimin were abducted off the street by unidentified men. Liu Xizhen was reportedly held in a ‘black jail’ for two days where, she said, state security police beat her.

Front Line Defenders expresses its concern regarding the detention and disappearance of Liu Xizhen. Furthermore, Front Line Defenders believes that these actions are solely related to Liu Xizhen’s peaceful and legitimate work in defence of human rights.


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