CHINA: Bloggerin und Menschenrechtsaktivistin Liu Yanli ist sofort und bedingungslos freizulassen

Liu Yanli © PEN International

PEN International protestiert gegen das Urteil einer Haftstrafe von vier Jahren, das am 31. Januar 2019 vom Bezirksgericht Dongbao gegen die Bloggerin und Menschenrechtsaktivistin Liu Yanli aufgrund ihrer Social-Media-Beiträge verhängt wurde, in denen sie die chinesische Führung kritisiert hatte. Das Urteil verstößt gegen Yanlis Recht auf freie Meinungsäußerung, das sowohl durch die Verfassung der Volksrepublik China als auch durch den Internationalen Pakt über bürgerliche und politische Rechte, den China unterzeichnet hat, garantiert wird. PEN International fordert die sofortige und bedingungslose Freilassung Liu Yanlis.

TAKE ACTION! Protestieren Sie! Werden Sie aktiv!

– fordern Sie die Behörden der Volksrepublik China auf, Liu Yanli unverzüglich und bedingungslos freizulassen
– appellieren Sie an die Behörden der Volksrepublik China, die Verfolgung von Schriftstellern, Journalisten, Menschenrechtsverteidigern und anderen Dissidenten einzustellen und alle Personen, die wegen der Ausübung ihres Rechts auf Meinungsfreiheit und freie Meinungsäußerung inhaftiert sind, unverzüglich freizulassen

Richten Sie Ihre Proteste an:

Präsident

President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping Zhongnanhai Xichangan’jie Xichengqu, Beijing Shi 100017, People’s Republic of China

Email: english [at] mail.gov [dot] cn

 Justizminister

Mr. TANG Yijun

Minister of Justice Ministry of Justice No.10 Nandajie, Chaoyangmen, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100020, People’s Republic of China

Botschaft der Volksrepublik China in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland

S.E. Herr Wu Ken, Märkisches Ufer 54, 10179 Berlin

 

Hintergrund (bereitgestellt vom internationalen PEN):

Liu Yanli, aged 44, is a blogger and internet activist who has suffered harassment and arrest on numerous occasions for her social media posts criticising the Chinese authorities. She is a member of the Independent Chinese PEN Centre.

On 22 April 2020, Liu was served a four-year sentence by the Dongbao District Court in the city of Jingmen in China’s Hubei Province. She was charged under Article 293 of the Criminal Code of the People’s Republic of China for ”picking quarrels” in her social media posts by criticising past and current Chinese leaders, commentary on corruption and lack of transparency, demanding protection for military veterans, and calling for democratic reform. In its verdict, the court referred to 28 articles and social media postings by Liu Yanli that purportedly contained “false information about major domestic events”, “insulted and attacked leaders of the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese State”, “maliciously sensationalised popular social events”, and “created disturbances that damaged public order”.

Liu Yanli was first arrested on 26 September 2016, held for eight months, then released on bail on 27 May 2017. She resumed her critical social media posting which, on 25 May 2018, earned her a six-month period of ‘residential surveillance’. This is a form of secret detention often used against activists where they are held without access to family or lawyer, sometimes for months.

On 22 November 2018 Liu was arrested again, and once more accused of “insult and attacking the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)” and sentenced fifteen months later. In her final statement before the court on 22 April 2020, Liu stated that she was simply expressing her right to freedom of expression. This right, more often than not ignored by Chinese courts, is guaranteed under Article 35 of the Chinese Constitution which states: “Citizens of the People’s Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration”. „I’m just an ordinary citizen, I’m not a party member. I use common sense to express my opinions, but now I’m facing a guilty verdict, I don’t think this is in line with the party’s slogan ’serve the people’,she told the court. Liu is appealing against the sentence. She remains in Jinmen City Detention Centre pending the appeal.

Employed as a bank clerk, Liu Yanli has been an active human rights defender for several years, having campaigned on projects including China Human Rights Watch, led by the activist Qin Yongmin, who himself was arrested in 2015 and is now serving a 13-year sentence. She is a prolific user of social media, such as on the Chinese Qzone and WeChat social networking sites, and on Weibo (the Chinese equivalent of Twitter) and her posts are said to be largely reposts and copies from other already published articles from inside and outside China.

Freedom of expression in China

PEN International has long been concerned about violations of the right to free speech in China, which consistently holds large numbers of writers in prison, many serving lengthy prison terms on convictions that breach international standards that safeguard the rights to freedom of expression and fair trial. PEN International’s 2019 Case List records twenty-one writers in prison in China, including in the Tibet and Xinjiang Uyghur autonomous regions, nearly all held under national security legislation. Among them are writers detained in the crackdown against Uyghur Muslims that commenced in 2017 and where over a million people have reportedly been held in ‘re-education camps’. Furthermore, PEN International is recently also concerned about the situation for freedom of expression in Hong Kong, which threatens to worsen with the proposed new national security legislation.

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