China: rights defender detained in ‘quarantine’


Li Qiaochu, a feminist, labor researcher, and human rights defender who has especially advocated for the rights of migrant workers in China, is being held incommunicado following her arrest for “subversion of state power.” Li was detained Feb. 6 in Beijing, where she lives, and taken to Linyi city in Shandong province, where her partner and fellow human rights defender Xu Zhiyong is also detained and facing the same charge. Li’s detention follows her disclosure of Xu’s torture and mistreatment in detention. On Feb. 19, Li’s lawyer formally requested that the Linyi Municipal Public Security Bureau grant access to her, and was told she is being held in quarantine at a local hospital. She is apparently to be transferred to the Linyi Municipal Detention Center once the quarantine is completed.

Xu Zhiyong, who was detained over a year ago, was only first allowed a visit from his attorney on Feb. 5. He had previously been allowed two video meetings with lawyers. He was apparently held under Residential Surveillance at a Designated Location (RSLD) in Yantai, Shandong, before being transferred to the Linyi Detention Center.

Li Qiaochu was especially active in documenting abuses and demanding accountability from authorities after the forcible eviction of migrant workers from their residences in Beijing in the winter of 2017. She was also briefly detained after speaking out about Xu’s arrest last year. (FrontLine Defenders, China Change, HRW)

See our last post on the crackdown on dissent in China.

Image: FrontLine Defenders

  1. Labor crackdown spreads in China

    China Worker website reports that labor activist Chen Guojiang faces five years in prison or attempting to organize food delivery workers in China, He has been charged with catch-all “picking quarrels and provoking trouble.” Chen was arrested in Beijing on Feb. 25 and charged one month later after a campaign of pressure by his family and supporters demanding information about his detention. This year has seen strikes by delivery workers in Shenzhen, Zhejiang and Linyi.

    Hong Kong-based China Worker is one of the few sources for such information within China’s national territory. The Beijing-based left-dissident Utopia website, which was ordered closed a few years ago, appears to be back online at the new URL

  2. ‘Disappeared’ rights lawyer Tang Jitian ‘tortured’ in detention

    Prominent Chinese rights attorney Tang Jitian, detained after he planned to attend a Human Rights Day in Beijing on Dec. 10, has been held incommunicado ever since, and his supporters say he is at risk of torture. (RFA)

  3. China sentences prominent human rights activists

    Chinese authorities on April 10 sentenced two of the country’s most prominent human rights activists to prison for the crime of “subversion of state power.” Xu Zhiyong and Ding Jiaxi were sentenced in a court in the Shandong province to 14 years and 12 years in prison, respectively. (Jurist)

  4. China: another human rights lawyer gets prison

    Chinese human rights lawyer Chang Weiping was sentenced to three and a half years in prison on June 8 after he was found guilty of “subversion of state power.” He is known for defending marginalized groups and those facing discrimination, and for speaking out about his own treatment at the hands of the police.

    Chang initially stood trial in July 2022 behind closed doors at the Feng County Detention Center in Baoji, Shaanxi province. Dozens of police officers blocked Chang’s wife and his family from attending the trial.

    Chang had previously published a video in October 2020 denouncing the physical torture he was subjected to while in detention under Residential Surveillance in a Designated Location (RSDL). (Jurist)

  5. Rights organizations issue call on anniversary of 709 crackdown

    A coalition of over 60 human rights organizations, bar associations, scholars and Chinese human rights defenders on July 10 issued a global call for action against China’s treatment of human rights lawyers to mark “China Human Rights Lawyers Day.” Their statement commemorates the eighth anniversary of the mass arrest of over 300 human rights lawyers and legal assistants—also known as the “709 crackdown.” (Jurist)