Liu Feiyue is the founder and director of Civil Rights and Livelihood Watch (Msguancha.com), a Hubei-based online platform, dedicated to exposing human rights violations against grassroots activists in China. Liu was first detained on November 18, 2016 and formally arrested on December 23. He has been under criminal detention since then. He was denied access to his lawyer for several months until May 25, 2017. On August 7 his trial was held where he was found guilty.
The Intermediate People’s Court in Suizhou City sentenced Liu to five years in prison and seized more than one million yuan (USD 148,326) of his personal assets.
Liu sentencing comes after journalists Ding Lingjie, Sun Lin, Zhen Jianghua and Huang Qi were all sentenced in late December on allegations of inciting subversion or divulging state secrets.
The IFJ said: “The government led crackdown on freedom of expression and speech in China is creating an environment of fear and intimidation. Journalists are working in a situation which is becoming increasingly dangerous, simply for fear of harassment, intimidation or worse detention. This needs to end.”