Officials Extend Liu Xiaobo's Residential Surveillance Beyond Legal Time Limit
Chinese officials continue to hold prominent intellectual and Charter 08 signer Liu Xiaobo even though the six-month limit for residential surveillance as provided for in China's Criminal Procedure Law (CPL) has expired. Article 58 of the CPL allows officials to place someone under residential surveillance for up to six months.
Chinese officials continue to hold prominent intellectual and Charter 08 signer Liu Xiaobo even though the six-month limit for residential surveillance as provided for in China's Criminal Procedure Law (CPL) has expired. Article 58 of the CPL allows officials to place someone under residential surveillance for up to six months. Police reportedly took Liu into custody on December 8, 2008, meaning the period of his residential surveillance should have expired on June 8, 2009, and officials would have had to provide another legal basis for holding him, according to a June 8 Dui Hua Human Rights Journal analysis issued by the Dui Hua Foundation, a non-profit organization that seeks to promote universal human rights through dialogue between China and the United States.
Liu's lawyer, Mo Shaoping, said police told Liu's wife that Liu would remain under residential surveillance while they continued to investigate his case, according to a June 9 Agence France-Presse (AFP) article (via Google). "They said that new measures in his case would be taken, but they did not specify what these measures were," Mo said. "Basically, his entire residential surveillance has not conformed with laws and regulations." Officials have kept Liu at an undisclosed location in Beijing even though Chinese law would appear to require that residential surveillance be carried out at Liu's home in Beijing and not another location.
Officials have also denied Liu access to his lawyer, despite provisions under Chinese law that give a person under residential surveillance the right to meet with his lawyer without permission.
"His residential surveillance should be carried out at his home -- his family should live with him and his lawyers should be able to freely visit. None of this has happened," Mo told AFP. Mo said he sent a letter to the procuratorate in Beijing asking officials to free Liu or issue formal charges, according to a June 9 Times Online article. The Dui Hua analysis noted:
Though more attention has been paid in recent years to abiding by certain provisions of the CPL, Chinese law-enforcement authorities have in the past frequently ignored legally established rights and time limits, especially in cases like this one that appear to be of a political nature.
Officials took Liu into custody a day before more than 300 Chinese citizens issued Charter 08, a document which they signed and which calls for political reform and greater protection of human rights in China. The charter was posted on the Internet and allows additional persons to sign the document via e-mail. As of April 17, 8,484 persons had signed the charter, of which about 80 percent reside in mainland China, according to the book "Charter 08," published by Open Books (Hong Kong) in May. Charter 08 is inspired by a 1970s charter issued in the former Czechoslovakia.
For more information, see a previous CECC analysis of official harassment of Charter 08 signers, censorship of Charter 08 on the Chinese Internet, and the legality of Liu's residential surveillance, and a previous CECC analysis of the Charter 08 document and initial reports of Liu's detention.