TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Chinese political activist, Liu Fei-yue (劉飛躍), who runs the Civil Rights and Livelihood Watch (民生觀察) website was arrested in 2016 on suspicion of subverting state power.
After two years held in police custody, Liu was sentenced to five years in prison on Jan. 29. Liu’s mother has dared to speak out against the injustice her son has faced by publishing two open letters to condemn the dishonest treatment her son has been received.
Liu, who hails from Suizhou city in Hubei province, worked as a public school teacher until October, 2005, when he began dedicating his time to the online Civil Rights and Livelihood Watch project. The website was created to document abuse of workers’ rights by government authorities across China. It quickly became one of China’s most active websites dedicated to protecting civil rights.
In November 2016, Liu became the target of police harassment, and was arrested in December along with the administrator of another Chinese civil rights website named Huang Qi (黃琦).
After more than two years of being denied his freedom and with only limited access to attorneys to form a legal defense, the Intermediate People’s Court of Suizhou, Hebei sentenced Liu Feiyue to five years in prison for “inciting subversion of state power” on Jan. 29 along with the police seizure nearly US$148,000 in personal assets.
Liu Feiyue (public domain photo)
The court accused Liu Feiyue of promoting content that would encourage “inflammatory” discourse and vilify the image of the Chinese government and Communist Party, and “increase dissatisfaction” with state power and China’s socialist system.
Immediately following Liu’s sentencing, his mother Ding Qihua (丁啟華) published a letter condemning the decision of the courts on Jan. 30. In her letter she detailed attempts by the authorities to coerce her to testify against her own son, and declared she would support her son’s appeal of his sentence and would no longer stay silent.
Before the Lunar New Year, on Feb. 2, Ding released a second letter to the public, revealing that communist officials have threatened her following the first public statement decrying the treatment of her son. Ding says she will not back down in the face of evil and injustice and boldly declared that the “days are numbered” for the corrupt police and judges who are responsible for her son’s imprisonment.
Liu's mother, Ding Qihua (Photo from Radio Free Asia, Copyright © 1998-2016, RFA)
A translation of Ding Qihua’s letters can be read below.
Dear friends from all walks of life who care about the case of my son,
Hello everyone, I am the mother of Liu Feiyue. For the sake of my son’s freedom and in order to keep authorities happy, I have not spoken a word about my son’s case for two years. However, today I am extremely angry, because my family members have been manipulated by the authorities, and they have broken their promise that they would release my son.
My son was sentenced to five years in prison for inciting subversion of state power. He has been denied political rights for three years, and had his property stolen. All this time, I have obeyed the advice of the Suizhou government officials. Under their arrangements, Liu’s father and I visited the detention center where he was held on several occasions. Coerced by authorities, we advised our son to plead guilty to the charges, being told this would help his case and lead to our son’s release.
How could the government officials deceive us so!?
The authorities have turned their back of their promise. Liu’s sentence is like cold water poured down my back. Before I was stuck in a state of perpetual sadness, now my heart is like ice.
What hurts most is not that my son has been sentenced to five years. Rather, I am outraged at the manipulative way that government officials have used us. I have lived for 70 years, but never before today did I understand the manner in which these government officials wield the power granted to them by the state.
My weakness does not forgive my guilt. I recognize that my weakness was my pride for my son. Everything my son has done should have been protected by our constitution as Freedom of Speech. The authorities have sentenced my son with a crime, but in fact it is the government officials that are undermining the rule of law in China, and undermining freedom in society, guaranteed by China’s constitution.
I will fully support my son’s appeal. I will no longer stay silent. And I will no longer believe the authorities’ falsehoods.
Thank you all for paying attention to my son’s case,
Ding Qihua, mother of Liu Feiyue, Jan. 30, 2019.
The Lunar New Year is coming soon, and I miss my son more than ever. The anger and sense of betrayal I feel will not easily dissipate. I have recently received some warnings, but I will continue to speak.
I am seriously at a loss. Does our Constitution not clearly state that citizens have the right to freedom of speech? This is clearly false. My son simply spoke on behalf of disadvantaged groups, and now he has been sentenced to five years in retaliation for doing so.
This is so unreasonable, it is baffling to me. To claim my son was inciting subversion of state power, is really such a joke. When someone is being watched by national security offices and the phone is being monitored, a person can hardly get a few moments to themselves when they step outside. How can anyone ever subvert state power in such circumstances.
(In the current case) it seems state power amounts to little more than words on paper. If so no wonder it’s so easy to subvert?
My son has been detained for nearly three years. During this time, I have constantly worried that some unfortunate accident may befall us. If I think too long on such a possibility, I become frightened. Who can say where something might occur over the remaining three years he is in jail?
I don’t know who truly upholds justice, but I trust that these words of mine will be seen. I hope that people with a genuine sense of justice will see them, and will be moved to help my son Liu Feiyue. He is a good person, of good conscience, imprisoned by bad people. Please help us bring an end to his persecution.
The arrest, detention, and sentencing of my son has finally made me realize that there are evil forces corrupting the current system. It makes me truly fearful to even think about it, but I hope these forces are not representative of the Chinese communist party or the entire system.
Most likely, they are bad elements that are undermining rule of law in China and harming the country’s image. Among this group, I know of three officers and three judges in particular. There are two male Suizhou National Security Police officers surnamed He(何) and Xiong (熊), and one female officer surnamed Guo (郭). The judges is part of the Intermediate People’s Court of Hubei, and are named Li Haiyun (李海运), Li Wen (李文), and Wang Qiong (王琼).
It is with great sorrow this new year that I wish my son a healthy, peaceful life. I wish for all the good people of the world to reunite with their families to share peace, joy, and prosperity. At the same time, I also hope those dark and evil forces might eat and drink well this holiday, because your days are numbered.
2018 was a year of pain, sorrow, helplessness, and humiliation. But 2019 will be a year of hope and challenge. I still believe that my son will be returned home soon, and that true just will be manifest in our society. There are still those of good conscience who believe in justice, and still trust the old saying that good will conquer evil (邪不压正).
Ding Qihua, mother of Liu Feiyue, Feb. 2, 2019.