Police threaten to imprison human rights activist Li Qiaochu if she communicates on the internet



Sunday, November 29, 2020


Li Qiaochu, Chinese Women’s Rights activist and researcher of workers’ issues.
(Photo: ChinaAid)

(Beijing, Hebei Province—Nov. 29, 2020) At 2 pm on November 26, political police officer Guo (last name) asked human rights activist Li Qiaochu to meet him in Beijing Haidian District. Instead of engaging in a typical, approximately hour-long session complying with a police officer’s request to meet to address a concern, officials detained Ms. Li overnight. The next day, November 27, however, authorities conditionally released Ms. Li to her parents. 

For Ms. Li’s release and for her to avoid imprisonment at that time, police told her parents that they had to sign a guarantee Ms. Li would no longer communicate on the internet. Otherwise, authorities warned, they would imprison her. In addition, upon Ms. Li’s release, police confiscated her computer and cell phone. 

Earlier this year, on February 2, police detained human rights defender Xu Zhiyong, On February 16, officials also detained 29-year-old Ms. Li, Mr. Xu’s girlfriend, one of the initiators of the New Citizens’ Movement. Authorities continued to detain Mr. Xu but released Ms. Li on bail soon after her arrest.

After her release, Ms. Li appealed for Mr. Xu‘s release. Her efforts, however, merited ongoing threats of detainment and obligatory meetings with Gua and other officers. In fall/winter 2017, Ms. Li, also a researcher of labor issues, had accompanied volunteers to gather information and share data with heavily affected communities following an incident where the “low-end population” of migrant workers in the Beijing district had been driven out. There, the group assisted workers who had lost their jobs and housing. 

In 2018, Ms. Li actively participated in the “MeToo” movement against gender violence, supporting the movement on platforms such as Twitter. She often stood in solidarity with various prisoners of conscience and their families. 
 
In June 2019, doctors diagnosed Ms. Li with depression and advised her that she needed long-term medication. Nevertheless, she continued to participate in activities as usual. 

From the start of December 2019, authorities stationed public safety personnel at her house. They have also surveilled her routes to and from work. 

In the past, due to Ms. Li’s human rights activism, police regularly harassed her, Now, also due to Ms. Li’s past human rights activism, police continue to monitor her, violating her privacy and civil rights. 

Now, in addition to police harassing and monitoring Ms. Li and violating her rights, she lives with the threat officials will imprison her if she communicates online.



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