Skip to content Skip to navigation

Sichuan Teacher to Serve One Year of RTL for Posting Photos of Collapsed School Buildings Online

July 29, 2008

Human Rights in China has learned that Liu Shaokun (刘绍坤), a Sichuan school teacher who photographed collapsed school buildings in quake-affected areas and posted his pictures online, has been ordered to serve one year of Reeducation-Through-Labor (劳动教养) (RTL). Despite making several attempts, Liu’s family has not been allowed to see him since he was detained on June 25 this year. Though authorities told the family they could see him on July 29, they were again denied a visit.

“Instead of investigating and pursuing accountability for shoddy and dangerous school buildings, the authorities are resorting to RTL to silence and lock up concerned citizens like teacher Liu Shaokun and others,” said Human Rights in China Executive Director Sharon Hom. “These actions further undermine human rights and the ‘peaceful Olympics’ called for by the authorities, and reflect an irresponsible callousness towards the Sichuan earthquake victims and parents of the thousands of children killed by collapsed school buildings.”

Instead of investigating and pursuing accountability for shoddy and dangerous school buildings, the authorities are resorting to RTL to silence and lock up concerned citizens like teacher Liu Shaokun and others.
— Sharon Hom, Executive Director of HRIC

Liu, a teacher at Guanghan Middle School, Deyang City, Sichuan Province (四川省德阳市广汉中学), traveled to heavily hit areas after the May 12 Sichuan earthquake, took photos of collapsed school buildings, and put them online. In a media interview, he expressed his anger at “the shoddy ‘tofu’ buildings.” Liu was detained on June 25 at his school. At the time, authorities informed his school’s principal that Liu was being held for “disseminating rumors and destroying social order.” Authorities later told Liu’s family that he was being investigated on “suspicion of the crime of inciting subversion.” (煽动颠覆国家政权) However, the family did not receive formal notification for his detention as required under Chinese law.

On July 23, 28 days after his detention, Liu’s wife was informed that there was a letter from her husband to pick up at the Guanghan City Public Security Bureau. When she arrived, she was given a “Reeducation-Through-Labor Notice” (劳动教养通知书), which had Liu’s signature and fingerprints, but not the length of time he would serve. After Liu’s wife demanded to know how and why he was placed in RTL, she was told that Liu would serve one year for “inciting a disturbance.” (煽动闹事)

Under RTL regulations, public security authorities may issue an order to anyone to serve up to four years of RTL without trial or formal charge.

For HRIC’s initial report of Liu Shaokun’s detention, see:

For HRIC’s reports on other detained Sichuan quake activists, see:

Explore Topics

Access to Information Access to Justice Administrative Detention Arbitrary Detention Asset Transparency Bilateral Dialogue
Black Jail Book Review Business And Human Rights Censorship Children Chinese Law
Citizen Activism Citizen Journalists Citizen Participation Civil Society Communist Party Of China Consumer Safety
Corruption Counterterrorism Cultural Revolution Culture Matters Current and Political Events Cyber Security
Daily Challenges Democratic And Political Reform Demolition And Relocation  Dissidents Economic Reform Education
Enforced Disappearance Environment Ethnic Minorities EU-China Family Planning Farmers
Freedom of Association Freedom of Expression Freedom of Press Freedom of Religion Government Accountability Government regulation
Government transparency Great Leap Forward Heilongjiang Lawyers’ Detention Historical Anecdotes History/Experience Hong Kong
House Arrest House Church Hukou Human Rights Council Human rights updates Ideological Contest
Illegal Search And Detention Inciting Subversion Of State Power Information Control  Information monitoring Information technology Information, Communications, Technology (ICT)
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) International Human Rights International Investment  International Relations International Trade International Window
Internet Internet Governance Judicial Reform June Fourth Kidnapping Labor Camps
Labor Rights Land, Property, Housing Lawyer's rights Lawyers Legal System Legal World
Letters from the Mainland Major Event (Environment, Food Safety, Accident, etc.) Mao Zedong Microblogs (Weibo) National People's Congress (NPC) New Citizens Movement
Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Olympics Online Activism Open Government Information Personal Story Persons With Disabilities
Police Brutality Political commentary Political Prisoner Politics Prisoner Of Conscience Propaganda
Protests And Petitions Public Appeal Racial Discrimination Reeducation-Through-Labor Rights Defenders Rights Defense
Rule Of Law Southern Street Movement Southern Weekly Special Topic State compensation State Secrets
State Security Subversion Of State Power Surveillance Taiwan Technology Thoughts/Theories
Tiananmen Mothers Tibet Torture Typical cases United Nations Uyghurs, Uighurs
Vulnerable Groups Women Xinjiang Youth Youth Perspective