(China – March 25, 2022) After being detained for more than two years, Chinese authorities have recently charged rights activist Li Qiaochu with “inciting subversion of state power.”
The People’s Procuratorate of Linyi City, Shandong Province, submitted the indictment against Li Qiaochu to the Intermediate People’s Court on February 28 this year. Li Qiaochu’s attorney has also received the indictment letter.
The indictment listed several “criminal evidence” for Li Qiaochu. First, she had a romantic relationship with Dr. Xu Zhiyong, a Chinese constitutional scholar and New Citizens’ Movement leader who is currently in prison. Second, she set up a personal blog for Xu Zhiyong to promote ideas of “subverting state power.” Authorities accused Li Qiaochu of overthrowing the socialist system, and she should be held criminally responsible for the crime of inciting subversion of state power.
Insiders familiar with the case pointed out that the public prosecutor of Linyi city, Shandong province, fabricated witness testimony. Zhang Zhongshun, the “witness” mentioned in Li Qiaochu’s indictment letter, took the initiative to find Li Qiaochu’s lawyer on March 19th and to clarify that he did not know Li Qiaochu at all, nor the relationship between Li Qiaochu and Xu Zhiyong, let alone the so-called personal blog stated in the indictment. The testimony of the witness in the indictment letter is wholly fabricated. Linyi police and prosecutors used false testimony to frame Li Qiaochu.
On March 19th, Mrs. Luo Shengchun, wife of imprisoned rights activist Ding Jiaxi, criticized Linyi public security and the Procuratorate for fabricating information in the indictment letter on Twitter. “Linyi public security and prosecutors are not only hooligans and rogues, but the facts have proved that you all are the real criminals! You all create things out of thin air, make groundless accusations, and get others to do your dirty work.”
Online activists mocked Li Qiaochu’s arrest as the inciting subversion of “a steamed bun.”
In February 2021, after seeing her boyfriend Dr. Xu Zhiyong at a meeting with his lawyer, Li Qiaochu learned that Xu Zhiyong only ate a small, steamed bun for every meal while in prison; he was hungry and thirsty every day and was tortured. She came forward to fight for Xu Zhiyong to have better meals while in prison and sued the Linshu County Detention Center for giving out food that was far below the national standard.
Li exposed abuses in Chinese prisons on Twitter: “At the end of April 2020, Xu Zhiyong was severely tortured after he was transferred to Yantai, Shandong and placed under ‘residential surveillance’ there; at the beginning in mid-May (2020), for more than a week in a row, Xu was tied to an iron chair for more than ten hours a day, his limbs immobilized, and he struggled even to breathe. He was limited to drinking water during the same period and was only provided one small, steamed bun for each meal. He was hungry and thirsty every day. When going to and from the cell, not only did he have to wear a black hood, (they) also had to put on a heavy motorcycle helmet on Xu Zhiyong.”
On February 6, 2021, Li Qiaochu was asked to have a conversation with the Beijing police. As a vengeful retaliation for Li’s exposure of the Shandong prison authorities’ “one beating, one single bun,” Li was criminally detained on suspicion of “subversion of state power.”
On March 15, 2021, she was formally arrested by the Procuratorate of Linyi City, Shandong Province, accused of the same charge.
On August 27, 2021, her attorney revealed the following after meeting with her, “the authorities in prison once suspended Li Qiaochu’s access to medication, auditory hallucinations began to appear, and (she is) required to intake medication long-term, but she does not regret speaking out” and firmly believes in her innocence.
Li Qiaochu’s symptoms of auditory hallucinations intensified, accompanied by clouding of consciousness and trance, and her family’s application for bail pending trial was rejected by the government. More than two years after being detained, Chinese authorities have prosecuted Li for exposing the alleged abuse of rights activist Xu Zhiyong (“one beating, one single bun”) in a Shandong prison.
Li Qiaochu, born in 1991, a native of Beijing, was a former research assistant at the School of Labor and Human Resources of Tsinghua University, a labor rights advocate, a Christian, and a protester who regards “revolution and love” as the theme of her life.
~Gao Zhensai, Special Correspondent of ChinaAid