03/16/2020

Urgent Action: Fears for Female Activist Held Incommunicado (China: UA 28.20)


Li Qiaochu, an active defender of the rights of women and workers, was taken away by police in Beijing on 16 February 2020. Detained in an unknown location, her arrest is suspected to be related to her activism against gender violence and the fact that her partner, Xu Zhiyong, attended an informal gathering of lawyers and activists in Xiamen in December 2019. Without access to her family and a lawyer of her choice, there are grave concerns that Li Qiaochu is at risk of torture or other ill-treatment.

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Director Wang Xiaohong
Beijingshi Gong’anju
9 Dongdajie, Qianmen
Dongchengqu, Beijing Shi 10001
People Republic of China
Fax: +86 10 85222823
Ambassador Cui Tiankai
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
3505 International Place NW, Washington DC 20008
Phone: 202 495 2266 I Fax: 202 495 2138
Email: [email protected]
Salutation: Dear Ambassador

Dear Director Wang,

I am writing to express my concern for Li Qiaochu, who was taken away by police in Beijing on 16 February 2020. No copy of her detention notice has been provided to her family, who do not know what charges she is being held under.

Li Qiaochu is a well-regarded researcher on labor rights and has been a peaceful advocate against gender-based violence for many years. Her partner, Xu Zhiyong, was one of the many lawyers and activists who attended an informal gathering in Xiamen in December 2019. It seems that Li Qiaochu’s own peaceful activism, and close association with other activists, is the sole reason for her current detention.

On 31 December 2019, Li was summoned by the police and held in the Beijing Public Security Bureau for 24 hours. During her detention, police reportedly refused to give her adequate medical care. As most of the questioning related to Xu Zhiyong, Li Qiaochu decided to reveal her treatment by the police online and called for more public attention for others detained in relation to the gatherings in Xiamen.

No information about where Li Qiaochu is being held has yet been shared with her family members, who worry that without access to a lawyer of her choice she is at serious risk of torture and other ill-treatment. It is also distressing to learn that Li Qiaochu was diagnosed with depression in recent months. Without access to regular and adequate medication, there are real concerns for her mental and physical wellbeing.

I call on you to immediately and unconditionally release Li Qiaochu, unless there is sufficient credible and admissible evidence that she has committed an internationally recognized offense and is granted a fair trial in line with international standards; ensure that Li Qiaochu has regular, unrestricted access to family and lawyers of her choice and is not subjected to torture and other ill-treatment; and allow her prompt, regular and unrestricted access to medical care on request, or as necessary.

Yours sincerely,

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