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China urged to release human rights activist and lawyer Liu Shihui

On January 8, 2014 Freedom House condemned the Chinese government's January 5 detention and subsequent disappearance of human rights activist and lawyer Liu Shihui. Authorities at the Dadongjie police station in Guangzhou detained Liu when he went to inquire about three members of a grassroots pro-democracy group, Southern Street Movement, who were taken into custody the day before. Liu was transferred out of the police station in the middle of the night on January 6, and his whereabouts were unknown as of January 8.

One hundred-nine human rights lawyers and legal scholars published a statement on January 6 condemning authorities for Liu's detention. Freedom House called on the Chinese authorities to immediately and unconditionally release him.

Liu is a prominent human rights activist in Guangdong. He has not been able to renew his license to practice law, effectively leaving him disbarred, since 2009 after representing aggrieved petitioners and rights activists. In 2011, he was "disappeared" for 108 days as part of the authorities' crackdown related to calls for an Arab Spring-inspired "Jasmine Revolution" in China. Liu was tortured in custody, and the authorities deported his Vietnamese wife.

Before his latest detention, Liu was actively involved in organizing the Southern Street Movement to promote freedom and democracy in China. He had also assisted rights defender Chen Jianfang in filing administrative complaints against the authorities at the Guangzhou Baiyun Airport for detaining and preventing her from attending the U.N. Universal Periodic Review of China, held in Geneva in September.

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