Thwarted July 1 marcher packed off to labour camp

Petitioner may have been moved from 'black jail' as police didn't want her to see her dying dad

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 17 August, 2012, 4:00am

Mainland activist Li Guizhi , who fled illegal detention in her hometown in Hebei last month after trying to attend the July 1 rally in Hong Kong, was sent to a labour camp on Wednesday, a local rights group said.

Li, 57, had escaped to Sichuan province after being held in a "black jail" in Hebei, following years of torture that left her nearly deaf and blind. But after just a week of freedom, Li was caught and sent back to an illegal detention centre in Hebei and then packed off to a camp.

People's Rights Union of China chairman Liu Weiping said more than 40 heavily armed policemen, including some special police, suddenly put Li in a prison van bound for a labour camp on Wednesday morning.

"Li's younger brother wanted to know about the charge she faced and how long she would be detained. The police chief told him, 'Let's sit down and negotiate two days later.' How can such a legal matter be negotiated?" Liu said.

The activist had been on the brink of committing suicide when she was barred from visiting her dying father in hospital, the union said.

The union chairman suggested Li was sent away because police did not want her to see her bedridden father, whom Li's brother planned to bring by ambulance to be reunited with the activist one last time.

The rights group also revealed that another activist, Ju Xiaoling , 56, who travelled with Li to Hong Kong, had been placed under house arrest, but had fled on Wednesday and was now safe.

Though Li was stopped in Shenzhen en route to the rally, Ju, who is from Nanjing , was able to protest in Hong Kong over her bank's unfair retirement package.

Li had been petitioning authorities over the suspicious death of her son, a police officer, since 2006. Authorities said her son died in a traffic accident, but Li believed he was murdered after learning about illicit drug deals involving his boss.

Liu, from the rights group, said the police would force Li's brother to sign an agreement to give up her crusade in exchange for her release.