1. Home
  2. Get Involved
  3. Urgent Action


Update info:
27 Jan 2018
Li Xuewen (m), Zhan Huidong (m)
Gender m/f: m
22 Feb 2018
Distribution date:
27 Jan 2018
UA No:

Independent writer Li Xuewen and Zhan Huidong (aka “Xiaozhang” or “Headmaster”), a former finance journalist and an online writer, have been detained due to their participation in the July 2017 seaside memorial for late Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo.

Li Xuewen was detained at the Guangzhou railway station, southern China, by two plainclothes police officers on 19 December 2017. Li Xuewen told his lawyer during his first meeting with him at the detention centre on 22 December, that police handcuffed him and took him to the railway police station after simply being told that he was on the “wanted list”. Li Xuewen then had his legs chained and was criminally detained on suspicion of “gathering a crowd to disturb social order”. Li Xuewen believes that the police used facial recognition software to track him down as he was stopped by the officers before he had entered the gate and had his ID checked at the railway station.

Li Xuewen was then taken to a police station in Xinhui District in Jiangmen, Guangdong province on 20 December where he was questioned before being taken to the Xinhui District Detention Centre after midnight on 21 December. In subsequent meetings, on 2 and 8 January 2018, Li Xuewen told his lawyer that the officers in the detention centre did not allow him to buy amenities (e.g toothpaste, additional food) as he refused to recite the rules in the detention centre.

Zhan Huidong has also been criminally detained at Xinhui District Detention Centre on suspicion of the same charge since 26 December, however the police only informed his family of his whereabouts and the charges laid against him on 1 January. According to his lawyer, who met with him on 3 and 9 January, Zhan Huidong maintains that he did not commit any offence.

Li Xuewen and Zhan Huidong are the most recent activists to have been detained for having joined the seaside memorial in Jiangmen for Liu Xiaobo on 19 July 2017. Six other activists, who also attended the memorial, were detained for about a month before being released in August. The authorities need to decide within 37 days after their detention whether to formally charge the two activists.



Liu Xiaobo was sentenced to 11 years imprisonment in 2009 for “inciting subversion of state power” for co-drafting “Charter 08” – a manifesto about the hope of asking the Chinese government to respect universal human rights values and democratic development – in 2008 and writing other articles to criticize the Chinese government. Liu Xiaobo died of liver cancer on 13 July 2017 and his body was quickly cremated in Shenyang and his ashes were scattered on 15 July 2017 by the seaside of Dalian, in Liaoning.

Six other Guangdong activists Wei Xiaobing (aka “1.3 billion citizens”), He Lin, Liu Guangxiao, Li Shujia, Wang Meiju (aka Xi Yan) and Qin Mingxin were taken away by police and had their homes raided several days after they conducted a seaside memorial for Liu Xiaobo on 19 July 2017 to mark the seventh day after the Nobel Peace Prize laureate’s death. They were released on bail about a month later.

Several other activists were also detained for conducting seaside memorials for Liu Xiaobo and have since been released. Jiang Jianjun and Wang Chenggang, who went to Laohutan (Tiger Beach) in Dalian (very close to where Liu Xiaobo’s ashes were scattered) on 17 July 2017 to pay tribute to Liu Xiaobo, were administratively detained for 10 days before being released on 29 July and 30 July respectively.

Li Zhaoqiang, who drove the Hong Kong Cable TV station’s journalist to broadcast the 19 July seaside memorial at Jiangmen city, Guangdong live, was taken away by police on 26 July. Detained for three days, he was released on 29 July.

Following Liu Xiaobo’s death on 13 July, over 20 prominent activists in Beijing and about a dozen petitioners in Shanghai also held indoor memorials for the late Nobel Peace Prize laureate. While none were detained, the activists were kept under surveillance by state security police officers.

Other activists were also detained due to their commemorative activities for Liu Xiaobo or showing support to others who joined the commemorative actions. Poet Wu Mingliang, better known by his pen name “Langzi”, and Peng Heping, who printed Wu Mingliang’s exhibition catalogue, were released on 22 September after being criminally detained on suspicion of “illegal business operations” on 19 August and 29 August respectively. It is believed Wu Mingliang’s detention was with regard to an anthology of poems commemorating Liu Xiaobo that he had helped produce.

Zhen Jianghua, executive director of an online platform “Human Rights Campaign in China” (www.hrcchina.org) which documents the human rights situation in China through reports by grassroots rights activists, was criminally detained on 2 September 2017 for “inciting subversion of state power” and held at the Zhuhai City No.1 Detention Centre. His friends believe that he was detained because he supported the other activists who were detained after taking part in the seaside memorial for Liu Xiaobo.

UA: 7/18 Index: ASA 17/7709/2018 Issue Date: 11 January 2018

Take action

Please write immediately in English, Chinese or your own language urging the authorities to:

  • Immediately and unconditionally release Li Xuewen and Zhan Huidong unless there is credible evidence that they may have committed an internationally recognized offence and are granted a fair trial in line with international standards;
  • Ensure that they are protected from torture and other ill-treatment, and that they are allowed access to their family.

Xinhui District Detention Centre
Xinhuiqu Duhui
Jiangmen Shi
Guangdong Sheng 529100
People’s Republic of China
Salutation: Dear Director

Li Chunsheng
Guangdong Provincial Department of Public Security
97 Huanghualu
Guangzhou Shi
Guangdong Sheng 510050
People’s Republic of China
Email: info@gdga.gov.cn
Salutation: Dear Director

And copies to:
Minister of Public Security
Zhao Kezhi
14 Dong Chang’anjie
Beijing Shi 100741
People’s Republic of China
Tel: +86 10 66262114 (Chinese only)
Email: gabzfwz@mps.gov.cn

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.