Wang Yu tells story of son’s abuse while she was in RSDL

 

Chinese human rights lawyer Wang Yu’s (王宇) son was just 16 years old when the police used a long, thick stick and threatened “to bash his brains out” to get him to sign a statement. He weighed less than 50kg, a small and skinny youth. He was surrounded by police officers, but they had still handcuffed and shackled him.

Bao Zhuoxuan (包卓轩) had been trying to flee China, but police had caught him in Myanmar. Three months earlier his father had been snatched in front of his eyes at the airport. The teenage Bao was on his way to Australia to study; his father was just seeing him off. Just hours later, in the early hours of the morning, police were breaking down the door to his flat with a power drill and snatched his mother. They were all victims of the 709 Crackdown, China’s war against lawyers, with even children among its casualties.

Ms. Wang has now spoken out about the terrible abuse her son suffered at the hands of the police while she and his father were locked up in RSDL, undergoing their own hell. They were only released a year later after she had been paraded on TV in another of China’s forced confessions. Her story is taken from an interview with the Epoch Times (in Chinese).

“The police grabbed him, threw him onto the floor, and then onto the bed, and then back on the floor, and back and forth several times.”

Ms. Wang described how in the beginning, she couldn’t bring herself to talk about her son’s treatment. If she did, she would burst into tears. “Talking about it felt like opening a second wound.” She avoided the topic, but over time, talking with her son, and other family members, she pieced together what he had gone through.

On 9 July – the very beginning of the 709 Crackdown – as they dragged his father away, police took the young Bao to a budget hotel room in Tianjin and locked him in. But at one point he saw a chance to escape and he tried to run away. “The police grabbed him, threw him onto the floor, and then onto the bed, and then back on the floor, and back and forth several times.” A few days later he was sent to live with his grandparents in Inner Mongolia.

A few months later, friends had helped to smuggle him down south and across the border into Myanmar, but police had followed them and and brought them back.

“I heard from friends that when he was snatched in Myanmar, they put handcuffs and shackles on my little son! For those who’ve never worn handcuffs and shackles you won’t know what they’re like, it’s actually a kind of torture. A 15, 16-year-old kid, so skinny and small, how could he run off? With so many police watching him? How could do they be so cruel to do that, put handcuffs and shackles on child? It’s cast a shadow over my heart.”

But that wasn’t all. The police wanted her son to write a statement, denouncing those who had tried to help him. Her son tried to stand up for himself and refused so “they hit him, they took a thick, long stick and beat my son. They began by hitting him on his lower back, and kept hitting him further and further up his back, saying: ‘If you don’t write what we tell you to, we’ll carry on and start hitting your head, we’ll bash your brains out.’ The pain was so bad he gave in.”

“How could do they be so cruel to do that, put handcuffs and shackles on a child? It’s cast a shadow over my heart.”

In August 2016, Ms. Wang and her husband were released and the family were reunited. They were forced to go and live in a small flat on the third floor of an apartment building in Ulan Hot in Inner Mongolia.  The police rented a flat opposite them from which they kept watch on them 24 hours a day. There were surveillance cameras surrounding their house – in the corridor outside their door, on the main door to the apartment building and all around the building itself. Police followed them everywhere, even if they were just going outside to put out the rubbish.

It’s the extent of the surveillance on her son that is astounding.

“Everyday, in the morning, two or three police officers took my son to school, and in the evening two officers brought him home. In his classroom, they had positioned three surveillance cameras on him, there were even cameras in the corridor, there was also a monitoring room, where the screens’ images followed my son, several national security police patrolled the school grounds.

This is how my son lived for two years.”

Seeing how distressed he was, Ms. Wang took him to see a doctor, where he was diagnosed with depression. “I thought that I can’t let my son carry on living like this, otherwise it will totally ruin his life.” This January, finally, he was allowed to leave China for Australia where he is studying.

“It was only after he left China that my heart felt at ease,” she said.

You can read Wang Yu’s testimony on her time in RSDL (and Tang Zhishun’s account of being captured while trying to help Bao Zhuoxuan escape from China) in our book The People’s Republic of the Disappeared and how she was forced to give several televised confessions in our report Scripted and Staged: behind the scenes of China’s televised confessions.

 

 

RSDL round-up for May

This is a monthly round-up of all news related to Residential Surveillance at a Designated Location (RSDL) in China. It includes updates on victims, legal developments and commentary on China’s legalized practice of “Enforced Disappearances.”

 

New RSDL cases

CCP goes after lawyers’ licenses

First death in Liuzhi is reported

New evidence on Xinjiang’s political education camps

Pressure mounts for Liu Xia’s release as she says she wants to die

Two trials — Tashi Wangchuk and Qin Yongmin

 

New RSDL cases

At the end of last month, it was confirmed that well-known Hunanese rights activist Zhu Chengzhi (朱承志), who had disappeared at the end of April,  has been placed under RSDL at an unknown location. His daughter, who received his RSDL notice, said she believes he is being kept somewhere in Suzhou but has not been informed of his whereabouts. Suzhou police rejected Zhu’s lawyer’s request to visit his client. This is the second time that Zhu has been held under RSDL; his first spell was in January 2013, and his is thought to have been the first ever RSDL case after the custodial practice was legalized on 1 January 2013.

There are also reports that at the end of April, Nanjing-born human rights defender Wang Jian (王健) was moved into RSDL at an unknown location.  Police had detained him on 18 April on suspicion of “disorderly behaviour.”

 

CCP goes after lawyers’ licenses

Following the 709 Crackdown of 2015 against human rights lawyers – mass arrests, many disappeared into RSDL, with some ending in lengthy prison sentences — the CCP now appears to be trying to neutralize the remaining lawyers en masse by preventing them from working through the revoking of their licenses or blocking them from getting work at a law firm.  Lawyer Xie Yanyi (谢燕益) faces imminent revocation of his license, while this month Lawyer Wen Donghai (文东海), Xie’s own lawyer and Lawyer Li Heping (李和平) were notified that their licenses were being revoked.

 

In mid-May the Beijing Lawyers’ Association’s held a hearing on Lawyer Xie’s alleged violations during a case earlier this year for a Falun Gong client. In Beijing that day both Lawyer Xie and a Hong Kong journalist were roughed up and detained briefly outside by security. An account of that day, written by Lawyer Xie was posted on China Change.

 

First death in Liuzhi is reported

The first death under liuzhi (留置), a new custodial system in China over Communist Party members and government workers that is completely outside judicial control was reported on 8 May by Caixin. Chen Yong (陈勇), a former driver for the Jianyang district government in Fujian province died during an interrogation. His sister said they had identified the body but were shocked to see that his face was disfigured. Mr. Chen’s case highlights the fact that you do not currently have to be a CCP member or government worker to be detained under liuzhi – Chen left his job in 2016. No lawyer access is allowed under the system.

 

New evidence on Xinjiang’s political education camps

There has been a flurry of scholarly and journalistic efforts to provide more evidence of, and information on, the mass incarceration of Muslims (mainly Uighur) in political re-education camps in the Xinjiang region. The AP ran an interview with a former Kazakh inmate at one of these camps in which “hour upon hour, day upon day, … [detainees]… had to disavow their Islamic beliefs, criticize themselves and their loved ones and give thanks to the ruling Communist Party.”

The interview with Omir Bekali can be viewed below:

 

 

Scholar Adrian Zenz released his (pre-peer reviewed) paper which offers some of the most comprehensive evidence for the extent of these camps to date. With official silence on the very existence of these camps, Dr. Zenz uses government procurement and construction bids, budget reports and recruitment notices to give a fuller picture of what’s going on. He identified 73 separate bids for re-education facilities and estimates that anything between several hundred thousand and one million people have been disappeared into these camps.

Law student Shawn Zhang on Medium shares his research putting together satellite imagery to identify locations and the scale of these secretive camps. A summary of his results is given in this news report by the Jordanian newssite Al Bawaba. In a powerful opinion piece for the New York Times, Rian Thum writes: “The camps are also tools of punishment, and of course, a threat. Few detainees are formally charged, much less sentenced. Some are told how long a term they will serve; others are simply held indefinitely. This uncertainty — the arbitrary logic of detention — instills fear in the entire population.”

 

Pressure mounts for Liu Xia’s release as she says she wants to die

There have been growing calls for the release of Liu Xia (刘霞), the wife of deceased Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, who has been under house arrest and effectively disappeared since her husband’s funeral last summer – although she has never been charged with a crime. In one phone call to a dissident friend living in exile in Germany at the beginning of the month, Ms. Liu, audibly weeping, said she would rather die than continue living under these conditions. “If I can’t leave, I’ll die in my home. Xiaobo is gone, and there’s nothing in the world for me now. It’s easier to die than live,” she said.

A few weeks later, a joint campaign between Amnesty International and PEN in which international poets and writers quoted from Ms. Liu’s own writings, was launched to draw global attention to her case, urging for her release and arguing her continued incarceration was making her lose her mind. Meanwhile EU diplomats have been barred from seeing her and Germany says she is welcome any time.

The joint campaign:

 

 

Two trials – Tashi Wangchuk and Qin Yongmin

Tibetan activist Tashi Wangchuk, who campaigned for schools to teach in the Tibetan language was handed a five-year sentence for separatism in a court in Qinghai province. Chillingly, the New York Times video Tashi made to explain his campaign was used as evidence at the trial that he had “deliberately incited separatism by trying to discredit the government’s international image and treatment of ethnic minorities.” Tashi made it clear in that interview he was not seeking independence for Tibet, just a school where his niece could learn in her mother tongue.

Meanwhile, activist Qin Yongmin (秦永敏) fainted during his closed-door trial on 11 May. Mr. Qin was forcibly disappeared back in January 2015. Despite his ill health, Mr. Qin’s trial on subversion charges went ahead and his lawyers, who were afraid he may have died in the courtroom, were subsequently denied access to their client after the two-day trial.

Vietnamese edition of Practical Digital Protection manual

Hướng dẫn bảo mật kỹ thuật số thực hành phiên bản tiếng Việt

 

Nội dung này được lấy từ một trang thân thiết của chúng tôi, practicaldigitalprotection.com.


This content is from our sister site; practicaldigitalprotection.com.

 

Một phiên bản tiếng Việt của cẩm nang Bảo mật Kỹ thuật số Thực hành hiện đã đăngtải và có thể tải xuống từ website practicaldigitalprotection.com. Những gì người đọc thấy trong cẩm nang hướng dẫn này là những biện pháp giúp cho nhiều người được tự do đi lại thay vì bị giam giữ trong lao tù. Những giải pháp an toàn mạng này không phải là lý thuyết và không quá chú trọng đến những giải pháp kỹ thuật phức tạp, mà là những hành vi cơ bản đã được kiểm nghiệm trong những môi trường hoạt động thù địch như Việt Nam và Trung Quốc.

 

Cuốn cẩm nang hướng dẫn này được dịch từ phiên bản tiếng Anh (cũng có sẵn trên trang web) và phiên bản tiếng Trung đã được địa phương hoá. Phiên bản tiếng Thổ Nhĩ Kỳ sắp được ra mắt. Tài liệu này được dịch ra tiếng Việt vì bốn lý do sau:

  • Lý do thứ nhất: hầu hết tài liệu hướng dẫn về bảo mật kỹ thuật số không được địa phương hoá với tình hình thực tế ở Việt Nam.
  • Lýdo thứ hai: hầu hết các tài liệu tập trung vào các giải pháp kỹ thuật, mặc dù nhữnggiải pháp này quan trọng trong một số khía cạnh, việc quan trọng hơn là những thay đổi hành vi cơ bản trong cách người hoạt động sử dụng điện thoại và máy tính.
  • Lý do thứ ba: những giải pháp dựa trên hành vi này được phát triển không chỉ bởi những người thành thạo kỹ thuật mà từng có trải nghiệm bị cảnh sát thẩm vấn và máy tính và điện thoại của họ từng bị cảnh sát có nghiệp vụ giải phẫu để tìm tài liệu.
  • Lý do thứ tư: hầu hết các tài liệu được dựa trên đào tạo do giáo viên hướng dẫn, hạn chế khả năng truyền bá kiến ​​thức. Cẩm nang hướng dẫn này nhằm mục đích tự học, và được thiết kế với ý tưởng này, với những lời giải thích sâu rộng, những câu chuyện ngắn về cuộc sống thực như thế nào, và với các công cụ sư phạm để cho những người không có nhiều kỹ năng về công nghệ thông tin có thể dễ dàng áp dụng kiến thức.

 

Cẩm nang hướng dẫn này có thể được thực hiện bởi sự hợp tác của nhiều nhà báo, luật sư, ngườilàm trong tổ chức phi chính phủ và nhiều nhà bảo vệ nhân quyền ở Trung Quốc, Việt Nam và các môi trường thù địch khác, và là kết quả dựa trên sự kết hợp các kỹ năng kỹ thuật, kinh nghiệm đối phó với cảnh sát, và đóng góp từ những người thụ hưởng thực tế về những gì họ muốn và cần.

 

Hướng dẫn sử dụng có hai phiên bản, một cho máy tính MAC và iPhone, và một cho các máy tính Windows / PC và điện thoại Android. Ngoài ra, một tài liệu nhỏ gọn hơn với tựa đề “Giới thiệu: Bảo mật Kỹ thuật số dựa trên hành vi” trình bày tổng quan về hành vi chính để tăng cường bảo mật.

Nếu bạn là nhà báo, nhà ngoại giao, nhà phân tích hoặc học thuật, chúng tôi khuyên bạn nên tài liệu Giới thiệu để hiểu rõ hơn về thực tế mà những người làm việc như nhà báo, luật sư, tổ chức phi chính phủ hoặc người hoạt động nhân quyền đang phải đối mặt trong những môi trường đó.

 


 

Hãy truy cập practicadigitalprotection.com để biết thêm.

Battered and Bruised: a new report on torture in China

In the spring of 2017, a number of lawyers got together in China to investigate how they could better represent clients who had been tortured. They wanted to explore how they could give them real help. Out of this came a practical manual – sponsored by our parent NGO Safeguard Defenders — on feasible actions lawyers in China could take that would have a real impact and counter the rampant use of torture in the country.

 

The lawyers had the freedom to explore this subject in any way they wanted. Their mission was to draw up a manual based entirely on their findings.

 

That Chinese-language manual is now being distributed quietly inside China. The fact that this manual cannot be published in the public domain is testament to the dire state of the rule of law in China.

 

The English-language report found that torture is still endemic and officers practice it with near impunity because of China’s failure to make proper legal reforms (legal reforms they are required to make after they ratified the UN’s Convention Against Torture). The legal definition is still too narrow and only actions undertaken by security officers collecting evidence or extracting confessions can be deemed torture.

 

The issue is compounded by the recent introduction of two new custodial systems, which themselves herald the likely expansion of the practice. Residential Surveillance at a Designated Location (RSDL) and Liuzhi are two similar extrajudicial custodial systems that effectively shield officers from any oversight and put detainees in solitary confinement with no access to legal counsel or family contact for months on end.

 

The report also includes testimony from victims of torture to illustrate the different forms employed in China’s detention centres and prisons and under RSDL.

 

Battered and Bruised: why torture remains at the heart of China’s judicial system 

(right click title to download)

 

Research undertaken by Safeguard Defenders on human rights defender victims of RSDL, which was legalized in 2013, and is being exploited to harass lawyers and activists, reveal widespread and often shocking stories of torture and maltreatment. Liuzhi, a custodial system that replaces (and expands on) the old shuanggui system, was officially launched this March, and is used to extract confessions from Party members and government workers involved in corruption cases.

 

Why is torture so widespread in China?

It’s been 30 years since China ratified the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), yet its laws on torture are still not in compliance. In addition, there are other problems with the legal framework. The key issues are:

  • The definition of torture is too narrow – for it to be considered torture it must have a direct physical consequence (torturers often conceal this, for example inflicting beatings on the torso or beating so that the body does not bruise).
  • It does not include psychological torture
  • It does not include torture by anyone except investigating officers
  • It does not include torture inflicted in any other circumstances other than collecting evidence or a confession.
  • It is extremely difficult for lawyers to collect evidence, police routinely block access to clients and if the client is under an extra-judicial custodial system, such as RSDL or liuzhi than there can be no access at all

The lawyers in our study group concluded that the only way to practically help clients who are victims of torture is to use evidence of that to discard any evidence or confessions extracted through torture at trial.

 

Types of torture

Torture in China has been well documented by first-hand victim accounts, including most famously by lawyer Gao Zhisheng, but also in our book on RSDL, The People’s Republic of the Disappeared, as well as in research conducted by other human rights organizations.

This short report lists some of the most common forms: stress positions – such as being hung up by the wrists, strapped into a Tiger Bench, handcuffed and shackled until limbs swell painfully, electric shocks and asphyxiation. Mental torture (which is largely not criminalized in Chinese law) include sleep deprivation, food and water deprivation, prolonged interrogations and forced medication. Sexual torture, including assault, rape and humiliation, have also been documented.

Our RSDL database, which we first announced here, forms one part of the report’s evidence. Every respondent has so far described being tortured in RSDL, with sizeable numbers also describing how their family were threatened, how they were forcibly medicated, shackled, and beaten. The dangling chair — a tall stack of stools on which victims are told to sit for hours on end with their feet unable to touch the floor, and which causes excruciating pain in the legs and spine — was the most commonly reported torture. None of them had lawyer access in RSDL.

 

 

‘If I lose my freedom’: preemptive resistance to forced confessions in China

Last month, lawyer Yu Wensheng (余文生) and activist Zhen Jianghua (甄江华) , both essentially in incommunicado detention, reportedly “sacked” their legal counsel. These are lawyers they pre-appointed in case they were detained, or trusted family members had hired. Sound suspicious? It’s well known that police will coerce detainees, especially human rights defenders who know how the law works, to revoke their right to a lawyer of their own choice.

We know that police threatened them or faked their signatures because before they were detained both prepared statements to say they would never willingly give up their own lawyers: Lawyer Yu on video and activist Zhen on paper.

Their actions are part of a growing trend in China for human rights defenders to make preemptive videos or statements to explain that once in detention their actions are not freely chosen. Once detained you cannot speak out.

It seems timely then, to republish an article one of our co-founders, Michael Caster, wrote last year, on this practice. (It is republished here with the kind permission of Hong Kong Free Press).


Michael Caster

On 3 May (2017), police in Yunnan abducted human rights lawyer Chen Jiangang (陈建刚). He was forced to drive with security over 3,000 kilometres back to Beijing. He remained in their custody for over 80 hours, coincidentally missing the trial of his client, Xie Yang (谢阳) , whose torture he had exposed in January.

At his trial, Xie “admitted” to having been brainwashed by foreign agents, and on Hunan state TV he repeated that he had sensationalised cases and denied that he had been tortured. Xie had anticipated his forced confession.

Xie, detained in July 2015, wrote in a January 2017 affidavit, “If, one day in the future, I do confess – whether in writing or on camera or on tape – that will not be the true expression of my own mind. It may be because I’ve been subjected to prolonged torture, or because I’ve been offered the chance to be released on bail…” Soon after his trial, Xie was released on bail, but he is not free.

It seems police abducted Chen Jiangang to ensure his silence during Xie’s trial, but as soon as he was taken, reasonable fears circulated that he would be “disappeared”. Like Xie Yang, Chen’s understanding of the cruelty of China’s police state bred prescience. Three months earlier he had recorded a video statement to be released if he lost freedom. It was published on the China Change website soon after he was taken.

A sombre five minutes, Chen states that he has committed no crimes and won’t accuse others. Any spoken, written, or video confession will only have been made under duress, threat, or torture. If, in the future, he ends up on television accusing others or revealing names, he asks for forgiveness. Emotionally, he ends with, “If I am seized, dear kids, your father loves you. If I lose my freedom, release this video.”

 

 

While such prerecorded statements are becoming more common for human rights defenders in China, still more should learn from those like Chen Jiangang that protecting their clients or themselves also involves controlling narratives. Such statements are an important innovation in protection tactics in response to China’s increasing fetish for disappearances and forced confessions.

China is a fan of forced confessions

Forced confessions violate Chinese law and international norms. For those awaiting trial, broadcasting forced confessions violates their right to a fair trial. Many forced confessions come following hundreds of days in pretrial detention, which itself should be the exception, never the rule, and only for the shortest time necessary. The risk of torture is already high in a criminal justice system reliant on confessions, while the pursuit of forced confessions drastically increases the risk. Victims of enforced disappearance and secret detention are especially vulnerable to torture.

Emblematic is the case of my friend and former colleague lawyer Wang Quanzhang (王全璋), whose exact fate and whereabouts have not been verified since police abducted him in August 2015. In January 2017, it was revealed that he has been tortured. Likely, Wang’s ongoing abuse is largely due to his refusal to perform a forced confession.

Part of the “709 Crackdown,” several prominent human rights lawyers have been forced to deliver televised confessions, from Wang Yu (王宇) to Zhang Kai ( 张凯), who later disappeared a second time after he publicly recanted his initial forced confession. A couple months earlier, in June 2016, Hong Kong bookseller Lam Wing Kee (林榮基) also revealed that he and his colleagues at Mighty Current publishing had been forced into confessing, including Gui Minhai (桂民海) who remains incommunicado.

In his televised “confession,” Gui, a Swedish citizen, asked not to receive diplomatic assistance and renounced his Swedish citizenship. This has been rightly dismissed as arising from coercion but what if Gui, like Chen Jiangang, had left a video preemptively dismissing such absurdity? For many who disappear into China’s Orwellian darkness, and reemerge to “confess,” their last credible speech act may be what they leave with others, which in turn may offer some protection.

Scholars have identified the dramatisation of glaring state contradictions as creating opportunity for resistance. In practical terms, if preventive protection measures against certain forms of repression are increasingly adopted, the authorities are more likely to abandon them, ultimately protecting human rights defenders from being subjected to them in the first place.

Preventive protection and forced confessions

Video is powerful and rights defenders at risk of disappearance or forced confession should record their statements rather than just writing them down.

Before recording, it is important to conduct a thorough threat assessment, which should be detailed and constantly reviewed and updated.

Once taken, it is often too late to ask that person what assistance they want. Even if allowed to meet a lawyer, pressure often limits what one is able to say. This is why recording in advance is so important. The message depends on the individual. Gui Minhai could have expressed that he had already given up Chinese citizenship and would never renounce Swedish citizenship. For others it could be stating that they would never accept a state appointed lawyer. Some might want to issue a statement about family members, that except if subjected to threat or torture they would never deny access to the family bank account, a measure the state has used to target family members’ economic livelihood.

It is also important that the video preempts likely accusations, such as noting that under no circumstances but duress or torture would one admit to being a criminal, or denounce colleagues. One might state they have never colluded with foreign forces to cause trouble, that they believe in human rights and the rule of law, respect their work, and would never denounce their efforts to strengthen the rule of law in China, except if under threat to do so.

Human rights defenders should make sure they have a safe contact responsible for sharing the video if anything happens. Sorting out power of attorney issues before detention is vital, even if the state is likely to refuse a meeting with lawyers on other grounds. The person responsible for releasing the video, family members, and lawyers should all be in contact and aware of the video statement.

It is a travesty of the rule of law that anyone would need to think of preemptively recording their own defence against baseless charges and forced confessions but if more human rights defenders did so then potentially the power of this repressive measure will ultimately be lost through the unmasking of contradictions.

First death reported in new Liuzhi system

Screenshot from aboluowang.com.

The first death under liuzhi (留置), a new custodial system in China over Communist Party members and government workers that is completely outside judicial control was reported on 8 May by Caixin. [The story has since been removed]. A cached version can be read here.

  RSDLmonitor press release on first death in Liuzhi

 

The brief article described how Chen Yong (陈勇), 45, from Nanping city in Fujian province had been detained for 26 days under liuzhi on a bribery case when the family received notification that he was dead. They said his torso was covered in bruises. They have requested an investigation into the death. Liuzhi was legalized along with the new National Supervision Commission (NSC) this March.

Caixin reported that Mr. Chen was formerly a driver to a local leader. The family told the news site that Mr. Chen was taken from his home on 9 April by officers from the Jianyang district’s Supervision Commission (the local branch of the NSC). That evening the family received an official notice from the Supervision Commission that he had been taken into liuzhi.

A US-based Chinese language website – aboluowang – reported that he died on the 5 April and that the story had been widely reported on Chinese media but later scrubbed. The website also says his wife had requested recordings of the interrogations but was refused. Mr. Chen was said to be in good health and ex-military. Until 2016, he was the driver for Lin Qiang (林强), the deputy district chief of Jianyang, who is also being investigated by the Supervision Commission.

Liuzhi replaces the much feared and extremely secretive shuanggui system for CCP party members, but has expanded its reach to include all party and government workers. Theoretically, even teachers, nurses and doctors could be detained under Liuzhi. The legal framework for the system is very similar to Residential Surveillance at a Designated Location (RSDL), a system for secret, prolonged, incommunicado detention that has so far mostly been used on lawyers, journalists and rights defenders.

The news of this first death under liuzhi is extremely concerning. Like RSDL, the new liuzhi system will likely significantly expand cases of enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention, torture and maltreatment.

Data on use of RSDL, shuanggui and the new Liuzhi system is most often kept secret, and reporting on victims of the system has been very limited. The book The People’s Republic of the Disappeared contains extensive first person reporting on RSDL experiences.