Liu Xiaobo Formally Arrested

Xinhua released a report a short while ago, confirming the formal arrest of Liu Xiaobo on 23 June 2009.  Liu was detained and had been placed under house arrest since 8 December 2009, a day before the release of Charter 08.  Liu was alleged to be the master mind behind the drafting of the document that asked for reforms to China’s political and legal system.

The Xinhua report reads:


(2009-06-24; 2.20 pm)





The following is my translation:

Xinhua: Liu Xiaobo arrested suspicious of inciting subversion of the State (24/6/2009 2:20pm)

The prosecutor has given permission on the 23th [of June] for the arrest of China’s prominent dissident Liu Xiaobo, who is alleged of committing the crime of inciting subversion of State authority.

According to Xinhua, Police investigation has confirmed that Liu Xiaobo’s acts of using rumour and libel to incite subversion of State power and overthrow of the socialist system are in violation of the “Criminal Legislation of the People’s Republic of China”.  He is suspected of committing the crime of inciting subversion against State authority.  The Beijing Public Security has therefore conducted an investigation in accordance with the legislation.  [Consequently] the Prosecutor has approved of Liu Xiaobo’s arrest on 23 June.

The report notes that Liu Xiaobo has confessed to the alleged crime during a preliminary Police investigation.

A Beijing lawyer Mo Shaoping tells Reuters that if Liu is indicted and convicted, he will face a maximum custodian sentence of 15 years.  In other words, Liu will not be released until he is 68.  Mo has been disqualified to represent Liu because he also signed the Charter 08 petition.


WSJ China Journal has published a great post on Liu Xiaobo’s arrest.  The blog post contains a translation of some legal opinions that a famous Beijing based rights lawyer Liu Lu has written.  This is by far one of the best analysis of how the latest development can be interpreted and what it means for the future of Liu Xiaobo.

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22 Responses to Liu Xiaobo Formally Arrested

  1. Ned Kelly says:

    Do you think China Law Blob (CLB) will assist in any way?

  2. C.A. Yeung says:

    He can’t. That will involve:
    1. Admitting that China has a human rights problem; and
    2. Demonstrating some real insight into how China’s legal system actually functions.

  3. Pingback: Liu Xiaobo Formally Arrested « Justrecently’s Weblog

  4. FOARP says:

    I already said my piece about CLB: Steve Dickinson most definitely does know the Chinese legal system (in fact, he has taught university courses on the subject), friends of mine who have used his service have decribed themelve very satisfied with his work, and Dan Harris has admitted that China has a human rights problem on more than one occasion.

    Let’s just tackle the problem head on: should a blog on Chinese law cover this story? On the face of it, (and you’re not going to like this) maybe not. In the strictest sense this case isn’t going to make or prove anything about the law per se. China’s repressive laws have been used in this fashion before many times. No lawyer is going to learn anything about Chinese law which they shouldn’t have known already before this case. The only thing this case tells you is that the government of China is still a corrupt dictatorship that is willing to infringe the human rights of its citizens using incredibly broad powers conferred by laws worded to mean whatever the government wants them to mean. As such this case does not have much significance in the study of the law per se. It is rather similar to asking the legal significance of a major murder trial in which the facts are ordinary – whilst the details of the case will of course be of general interest, little is likely to be said which has impact on the practice of the law.

    Now, before you start thinking that I am actually Dan commenting from behind a proxy, let me just say that of course any blog on China should acknowledge this case, and Charter 08, and the CCP’s appalling record on human rights, and the fact that these people were punished. My suspicion, though, is that few will actually do posts on it – not only does it increase the chance of being blocked, but there is little that the average blogger has to add.

  5. C.A. Yeung says:


    You are definitely not Dan’s sockpuppet. Dan used his sockpuppet to hijack someone else’s handles so that he could make false accusations against the site admin for censoring comments.

    I don’t mind if Dan just refrains from writing about Liu Xiaobo (and Charter 08) on his blog, as long as he also stops using his blog to lobby the US government against publicly condemning China for its human rights violation. The later is far more objectionable then the former.

    I disagree with you that “this case does not have much significance in the study of the law per se“. I am referring in particular to the recent proposed revision to the State Compensation Law 《国家赔偿法》修订草案. This should be of interest to most civil law practitioners in China. But my understanding is that this legislation, when enacted, also has ramifications for the Chinese criminal justice system. Liu’s case may well be the first few law suits to test the extent to which the new legal reforms have actually improved the rights of those detained by police authorities. So contrary to your suggestions, several China law blogs have actually given their legal opinion on Liu’s case. Please see my and JR’s latest blog posts for some relevant links.

    The discussion about Liu Xiaobo and Charter 08 has gone underground among netizens in China due to government censorship. But I emphasise here that the discussion has not stopped or lost its momentum, as some dishonest bloggers of the English language Chinese blogosphere have suggested. You just need to know where to look and which search word to use.

  6. Ned Kelly says:

    Re, “The only thing this case tells you is that the government of China is still a corrupt dictatorship that is willing to infringe the human rights of its citizens using incredibly broad powers conferred by laws worded to mean whatever the government wants them to mean.”

    In other words, China’s entire legal system is a sham. Chinese law does not exist; arbitrary kangaroo courts are absolutely incompatible with a rule of law, no matter how many ultimately meaningless statutes the Party writes and then either enforces arbitrarily or, more often, does not enforce at all. And no, the law cannot be compartmentalised into “politically sensitive” cases and commercial cases; you’ve probably heard the old English phrase that the law is a “seamless web”.

    If CLB named their blog “China Arbitrary Police Power Blog”, THEN they’d be using the language of real lawyers.

  7. FOARP says:

    @Ned Kelly – All I can say is that if you breach contract, or (maybe) if the locals you’re working with breach contract, that contract will still bind. If someone infringes you trademark or patent you’ll be able to get a ruling on that IP (having it enforced is a different thing). What you’re complaining about is not the absence of law, but the absence of the rule of law.

  8. Ned Kelly says:

    FOARP wrote: “What you’re complaining about is not the absence of law, but the absence of the rule of law”

    That’s a distinction without a difference, like asking how many angels can dance on a pinhead.

  9. FOARP says:

    @Ned Kelly – It’s a distinction as to how much the law offer protection against those in power. It is possible for the law to protect you against your fellow ordinary citizens without protecting you against those in power. Of course one affects the other, but they are not the same.

  10. FOARP says:

    Put more simply: if a company in China fails to deliver your order on time, and your contract with them has a penalty clause for late delivery, are you saying that you would not bother to make use of the Chinese legal system to enforce such a clause?

  11. Ned Kelly says:


    Yes that is what I am saying. I would not bother to make use of the “Chinese legal system”, because THERE IS NO SYSTEM IN CHINA, OTHER THAN PERSONAL CONNECTIONS!

    China’s formal “laws” are absolutely useless apart from guanxi, personal connections with powerful men.

    In China, guanxi IS the “law”! China’s “law” is the rule of personal connections and personal, arbitrary powers. And the likes of CLB are terribly dishonest and misleading to suggest otherwise.

  12. Ned Kelly says:

    Furthermore, FOARP wrote:

    “It is possible for the law to protect you against your fellow ordinary citizens without protecting you against those in power.”

    No it’s not. All historical evidence proves the contrary, largely because there is NO SUCH THING as an “ordinary citizen” whenever “those in power” take power over “ordinary citizens.”

    GOOD GOD, man, FOARP, have you not read Solzyenitsyn’s “Gulag Archipelago”, an EPIC story of how “ordinary citizens” collaborated with “those in power” to torment an entire nation in which the Rule of Law became compromised and then corrupted into a cesspool of arbitrary power?

  13. Ned Kelly says:

    PS, a few more thoughts about what FOARP wrote:

    ““It is possible for the law to protect you against your fellow ordinary citizens without protecting you against those in power.”

    What? WHAT? WHAT THE F—? HOW, please tell us, HOW, can the Law – WHICH IS AN INSTRUMENT OF POWER – protect anyone WITHOUT protecting them against “those in power”?

    Good GOD, man, do you see how totally bloody ILLOGICAL that is? Or has your decadent British mind become incapable of any personal logical thought at all, after 12 years of the ministrations of the British version of Nurse Ratched? Cf:

  14. FOARP says:

    I guess my ‘decadent British mind’ did that when I worked in patenting in China. I hate to hit you with legalistic BS, but the rights which you can exercise against other people are not the same as those you can exercise against organs of the the state, and that bit about everything being on the basis of ‘personal connections’ is just way off. Yes, it all has an effect, but once again, if you do business in China you are going to make use of the law, the fact that the law is deeply imperfect is just a function of China being a third-world dictatorship.

    Bascially, there a millions of Chinese lawyers proving you wrong every day. People do not pay them for nothing, or to exercise personal connections, or to transfer bribes. They pay them to advise them on what the law is, because this is important.

  15. Ned Kelly says:

    You’re not “hitting” me with anything. But you’re reminding me that all the lead slipped out of Englishmen’s pencils by 1956 or so.

    I just wonder how the nannies of Pakistan’s Airstrip One will cope when they realise their Muslim overlords aren’t exactly the most dedicated feminist-multiculturalists in the world. Meanwhile, it’s about time to quarantine Britain.

  16. FOARP says:

    @Ned Kelly – Eurabia? Afraid that theory is already so early-2000s bro, seems that when you actually look at the statistics (which rejects like Mark Steyn never bothered to) the Moslem population of western Europe is unlikely to climb above 10% any time in the next 50 years.

    Since you said that you don’t mind hearing legal BS, here it comes: rights can be divided between the horizontal and the veritcal, that is the rights that you can exercise against a fellow citizen (horizontal) and thoe you can exercise against the government (vertical). In China you at least stand a fighting chance of enforcing your horizontal rights through the legal system, but your vertical rights are very difficult to enforce. Yes, there is interaction between the two, but pretending that they are one and the same is not accurate or helpful.

  17. Ned Kelly says:

    Ah ha. Get real. Muslim bullies shriek jihad over a picture of a cute puppy and you Brits cave in and beg them for mercy:

  18. FOARP says:

    Wow, the Daily Mail says that Britain’s going to hell in a hand-basket, who would have thought it?

  19. FOARP says:

    I mean, what’s next? Here’s some other equally improbable headlines:

    * “China Daily in ‘CCP rocks, west sucks’ shocker”

    * “Expats: ‘We like to get drunk and fuck local women'”

    * “Bear shits in woods! photos on page 6,7,8, and 9”

  20. Ned Kelly says:

    The more politically correct broadsheets have also noticed the effects of the hostile invasion of your country:

    “A few weeks ago, I was chatting to a woman who works in an advocacy role for Muslim women in an area that, quite independently of the Bishop of Rochester, she described as a ‘no-go area’ for non-Muslims. Her clients were women in the process of being sectioned into mental health units in the NHS. This woman, who for obvious reasons begged not to be identified, told me: ‘The men get tired of their wives. Or bored. Or maybe the wife objects to her daughter being forced into a marriage she doesn’t want. Or maybe she starts wearing western clothes.There can be many reasons. The women are sent for asssessment to a hospital. The GP referring them is Muslim. The psychiatrist assessing them is Muslim and male. I have sat in these assessments where the psychiatrist will not look the woman patient in the eye because she is a woman. Can you imagine! A psychiatrist refusing to look his patient in the eye? The woman speaks little or no English. She is sectioned. She is divorced. There are lots of these women in there, locked up in these hospitals. Why don’t you people write about this?’

    My interlocuter went very red and almost started to cry. Instead, she began shouting at me. I was a member of the press. ‘You must write about this,’ she begged.

    ‘I can’t,’ I said. ‘Not unless you become a whistle-blower. Or give me some evidence. Or something.’

    She shook her head. ‘I can’t be identified,’ she said. ‘I would be killed. And so would the women.'”

    But of course hers is a minority voice, soon to become outlawed as “hate speech”.

    The thing you effete Brits don’t get about the Muslims is that they’re not afraid to, well, slaughter the likes of Richard Dawkins.

  21. FOARP says:

    @Ned Kelly – Yeah, somebody being sectioned under the mental health act said it, so it must be true . .

  22. Pingback: Petition for Liu Xiaobo, CCP refines Harmony Tools « Justrecently’s Weblog

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