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

No contact has been made with human rights defender Li Qiaochu since she was taken away by Beijing police on 16 February 2020. 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. Detained incommunicado under “residential surveillance in a designated location”, there are grave concerns that Li Qiaochu is at risk of torture or other ill-treatment as she is still without access to her family or a lawyer of her choice.



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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 grave concern for Li Qiaochu (李翘楚), who has been held incommunicado since being taken away by Beijing police on 16 February 2020. Li has reportedly been put under “Residential Surveillance in a designated location” (指定居所监视居住). However, no official information about her current situation has been communicated to her family or lawyer.

It is distressing to learn that, throughout her detention, Li has had no access to a lawyer. Most recently, on 21 April, Li’s lawyer went to Dongxiaokou Police Station to seek a meeting with her and try to find out any information about her case. The request was denied, meaning that her lawyer still does not know anything about her whereabouts, wellbeing or charges against her.

Without any access to Li Qiaochu, it is unclear whether she has prompt, regular, and unrestricted access to medical care. As she has suffered from depression since June 2019, I worry about her mental and physical wellbeing.

Li Qiaochu is a well-regarded researcher on labor rights and has been a peaceful advocate against gender-based violence for many years. Li Qiaochu’s own peaceful activism and close association with other activists is the sole reason for her current detention.

I urge 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,