07/01/2010, 00.00
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Liu Xianbin arrested for demanding respect for human rights

The Sichuan activist has already served almost 13 years in prison for similar reasons. On the internet hundreds of signatures already collected for an open letter calling for his release. Those who dare to petition the government sent to a Psychiatric prison in Hubei.

Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Rights activist Liu Xianbin is back in prison.  He was arrested June 28 in Suining (Sichuan) for "inciting subversion of state power". Liu had already served 10 years in 1999 for "subversion of state power" and was released in November 2008.

Renee Xia, director of Chinese Human Rights Defenders, says Liu, in spite of the unjust imprisonment, "since his release returned to promoting human rights and democracy and has become an important figure among activists in Sichuan. With his arrest ... the government is showing a growing nervousness about the situation in the province. " As many as 14 policemen arrested him and searched his house also seizing computers, credit cards and documents relating to articles published by Liu on foreign websites. The day after security officials harassed and threatened his wife and 13 year old daughter on her way to school.

On hearing of his arrest, hundreds of net surfers have signed an open letter denouncing Liu’s detention and demanding his immediate release. The well-known lawyer Mingxian Chen has gone to Suining to take up his defence. CHRD says that Liu is accused of writing articles on human rights and democracy, making contacts with other democratic rights defenders and also becoming one of the original 303 signatories of Charter 08 document published in December 2008 to demand more democracy and respect for human rights. This could be considered a crime since his 1999 conviction includes 3 years deprivation of political rights after his release.

Liu participated in the 1989 protests of the democratic movement and in 1992 was sentenced to 2 ½ years in prison. On release, he continued his battle for which he was subjected to another 10 years in prison.

Beijing tries to silence those who ask for democracy and respect for human rights with persecution and jail. CHRD report that on June 29 last Meizhi Liao was interned in a psychiatric hospital in Qianjiang (Hubei) since seeking to petition the city government on February 11. Liao, who was with her husband and sister, was taken away and since then all traces of her whereabouts had been lost. She had already been interned in a psychiatric hospital for having drawn up petitions.

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