Chinese Activist Free After Post-Release 'Disappearance'

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china-ou-biaofeng-and-li-huaping-aug-2015.jpg Ou Biaofeng (L) meets with Li Huaping (R) following the latter's release, Aug. 11, 2015.
Photo courtesy of Ou Biaofeng

Chinese rights activist Li Huaping, known by his online nickname "Norwegian Wood," or Nuowei Senlin, says he was taken away by police on his release from a detention center in the eastern province of Anhui, and taken to a neighboring province in handcuffs.

The New Citizens' Movement activist was scheduled for release on Sunday, but his family raised the alarm when he "disappeared" after leaving the detention center.

Police also rounded up a number of Li's supporters, who had planned to meet him when he came out, stopping them from traveling to carry out their plan.

"A gang of people put handcuffs on me at around 4:00 p.m. [on Sunday] and forcibly carried me away," Li said via social media on Tuesday, thanking his supporters for their concern over his status.

"I was locked up in a barred prison van like a cage by five police officers," he wrote. "We arrived in Zhuzhou, Hunan province about 12 hours later."

Li added: "They didn't take the handcuffs off me until I was out of the vehicle."

Li said he had been left unceremoniously in Zhuzhou with no way to contact any of his family or friends.

"I had no way of buying a SIM card, because I had no ID documents, only the red civilian clothes that I had on when I left the prison."

"I found somewhere to sleep and didn't wake up till [the next day], then managed to get in touch with my nephew," Li added.

Li later told RFA using a chat program that he felt unable to comment further, however: "I understand the difficulties my fellow [activists] are in, and I need to be alone for awhile now ... to deal with some private matters," he said.

"I don't think it's appropriate for me to make any public comment right now, and I plan to go somewhere quiet to rest and write."

Li was released after serving a two-year jail term for "gathering a crowd to disturb public order" after he helped organize protest activities in support of Zhang Anni, the daughter of veteran dissident Zhang Lin who was denied schooling by the Anhui authorities.

Lawsuit planned

Meanwhile, Hubei-based dissident Liu Benqi said he plans to sue the authorities over torture and mistreatment he said was meted out to him in prison.

Liu, who was recently released after serving a three-year jail term for "incitement to subvert state power," said he was subjected to "inhuman" treatment at the hands of prison guards.

"[I was subjected to] tiger bench, police batons, head in a bag, manacles, leg irons and hard labor for long hours at a time," Liu said when asked about his treatment in prison.

"I was deep inside the tiger's den, and they beat me with long poles like crazy people killing an animal," he said. "I was on the tiger bench for 40 days, tied up for the first two days, until they untied me and my legs and feet and arms were all swollen up."

Tiger bench refers to a torture method which involves strapping a prisoner to a long wooden board below the knees and placing bricks under their feet, putting strain on their extremities, and sometimes breaking their legs.

Liu said he was also beaten up by fellow inmates, with the guards' knowledge and backing.

"They sent inmates to beat up other inmates [because] I refused to admit that I was a criminal the whole time," Liu said. "They beat me because I refused to admit my crimes, but they would have beaten me anyway."

"They should bear the blame for this; the police were beating up inmates, not just standing by and watching them get beaten up," he said.

Determined to fight

Liu was initially detained in the remote western province of Qinghai in July 2012 on suspicion of "spreading rumors, incitement to subvert state power through defamation," and "trying to overthrow the socialist system."

He was sentenced to three years' imprisonment at a secret trial, and his family was never told of the judgment or sentence by the court.

Liu said he would continue his rights activism on his release.

"The reality of today's China is that ordinary people are ... too frightened to speak out," he told RFA.

Liu's wife and fellow activist Liu Ying, who also served a year in prison, said he is deaf in one ear and suffers from high blood pressure. "We have now served a total of four years in jail, between us," she said. "I saw my husband on the tiger bench with my own eyes, and I was on the tiger bench myself for eight days and nights."

"I saw dirty, cruel, inhumane things in there," she said. "My son was five years old [when I was in jail], so this was awful for me, I was so sad."

Reported by Qiao Long and Xin Lin for RFA's Mandarin Service, and by Ka Pa and Lam Lok-tung for the Cantonese Service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.


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