Independent writers Li Xuewen and Zhan Huidong (aka “Xiaozhang” or “Headmaster”), detained due to their participation in the July 2017 seaside memorial for late Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, have been released on bail.
Li Xuewen was released on bail and sent back to his hometown in Xiaogan Prefecture, Wuhan City in Central China on 15th January 2018. After his release, Li Xuewen posted on his Twitter account a thank you message to all his friends who had supported him while in detention. He also mentioned that he did not plead guilty nor sign any statement of repentance in custody.
Zhan Huidong was released on bail just over a week later on 23 January. A day after his release, he tweeted that while he had also suffered some mental pain, he had learnt a lot in detention. In his words, ‘The detention has left an indelible mark in my life and brought glory to my soul’. He thanked all his friends who have cared about him, writing that “they made me stay optimistic and live up to my ideals during my detention”. He is currently taking rest at home.
Both men had been criminally detained at Xinhui District Detention Centre on of suspicion of “gathering a crowd to disturb social order” since December 2017. Under Chinese law, defendants released on “bail” can see the charges against them dropped if they do not commit further violations of the law in a 12 month period, and often remain under close police surveillance. Amnesty International will continue to monitor the situation.
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