China: Human Rights journalist sentenced to 5 Years

The Suizhou Intermediate People’s Court in Hubei province sentenced Liu Feiyue, editor and founder of the human rights news website Civil Rights and Livelihood Watch, known in Chinese as Minsheng Guancha, to a five-year jail term for inciting state subversion. 

On November 24, Minsheng Guancha reported that police in Suizhou city in China’s central Hubei province told Liu’s family that Liu had been “criminally detained” and “might be sentenced” for “subversion of state power.” Minsheng Guancha also reported that Liu’s family had not yet received written notification of his detention from police. Liu has been detained since November 16.

As founder of the human rights news website, Liu has been a target of past police harassment and surveillance, and during politically sensitive national events, he has previously been detained or placed under house arrest, according to reports. Recently, Liu was held briefly in late October ahead of a gathering of the Chinese Communist Party congress.

Subversion charges are frequently used by the Chinese government to silence journalists and dissenting writers. “Subversion of state power” carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Founded in 2006, Minsheng Guancha, whose stated mission is “focusing on the lives of the underclass,” reports on issues and stories that media outlets in China are often prohibited from covering, such as political protests, detentions of activists and writers, police abuse, and human rights violations. The website has been blocked in China since soon after its inception, according to writer Wu Yangwei, better known as Ye Du, a contributor to Minsheng Guancha and a friend of Liu’s.

 

 

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