China charges activist Li Qiaochu with 'inciting subversion of state power'

Li Qiaochu's prosecution on the grounds of "inciting subversion of state power" is regarded as a crucial element in China's massive suppression of dissent.

Ms. Li's attorney, Li Guobei, stated that she was denied entry to the closed-door trial on Tuesday in Linyi, Shandong.

The 32-year-old is potentially subject to a minimum prison sentence of five years. Since March 2021, she has been detained on suspicion of writing on social media about the harsh detention conditions endured by her activist companion, Xu Zhiyong. 

Tuesday at 15:00 local time (07:00 GMT), her trial concluded without a verdict, according to sources. The attorney disclosed to the sources that her final interaction with Ms. Li took place on June 19th, during a pretrial conference, where she vehemently opposed the not-guilty plea entered by the defendant.

She added that Ms. Li has experienced difficulties with hallucinations while in detention.

In December 2019, the police initially apprehended Ms. Li and detained her for a single day while they questioned her regarding the whereabouts of Mr. Xu.

In February of 2020, she was again taken into custody for criticising the manner in which the police had treated her. Subsequently, she was granted parole and re-arrested in March 2021.

The US Congressional-Executive Commission on China demanded Ms. Li's "unconditional release" prior to her trial on Tuesday, citing her "reportedly urgent medical treatment."

The legislatively mandated commission to monitor human rights and the advancement of the rule of law in China additionally disregarded the "irrational" accusations directed towards her due to her "disclosure of the brutality that Ding Jiaxi and [Xu] endured while in detention."

In April, Xu and Ding were convicted of subversion and sentenced to 14 and 12 years in prison, respectively.

Both men are co-founders of the New Citizens' Movement, an organisation that advocates for government transparency and civil rights. They are among the most prominent dissidents who have encountered retaliation from the Chinese government.

As "Xu Zhiyong's partner and profoundly influenced by his subversive beliefs," Ms. Li was charged with "inciting subversion," according to an Amnesty International statement that cited the language of her indictment. She was additionally accused of "spreading subversive ideas" through her assistance in the online publication of Mr. Xu's "subversive articles."

The rights organisation stated, "Li's trial exemplifies the extremely repressive environment for anyone attempting to advocate for human rights in China."

Luo Shengchun, the spouse of Ding, also demanded that the government "cease persecuting Li Qiaochu." She added in a post on social media, that the authorities have denied Ms. Li's family members' numerous requests for a meeting with her.

Prior to her current position, Ms. Li conducted research at Tsinghua University in Beijing, specialising in matters pertaining to the rights of labourers and women.

2017 was the year that she worked together with scholars and organisations from civil society to provide assistance to evicted migrant workers in the process of getting new housing and jobs.

She has contributed greatly to the #MeToo movement in China through the collecting and dissemination of data relevant to complaints of sexual harassment.