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Liu Xianbin: A Chronology

November 16, 2011

October 2, 1968

Born in Suining, Sichuan Province.

September 1987

Enrolled in the School of Labor and Human Resources, Renmin University in Beijing.

April–June 1989

Wrote and posted “big-character” posters, including “Lord Hu  [Yaobang]’s Request from the Grave” and “Rethinking Chinese History.” Participated in demonstration, hunger strike, and blockade of military vehicles by Beijing university students.

May 1989–April 1991

Participated in discussions on forming the Freedom and Democracy Party and wrote two essays: “What Is Socialism and How Can It Be Achieved?” and “Rationalism.”

April 15, 1991

Detained for investigation by the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau and held in Qincheng Prison shortly before graduation.

December 28, 1992

Convicted by the Beijing Municipal Intermediate People’s Court of  “counterrevolutionary propaganda and incitement” and sentenced to two years and six months in prison and one year of deprivation of political rights.

October 1993

Released upon completion of sentence. Soon after, participated in democracy movement activities with Wang Dan, and wrote articles including “The Predicaments of Chinese Rural Society and Their Solutions: An Investigative Report into Rural Society in Central Sichuan” and “The General Experience of the Contemporary Democracy Movement.”

May–July 1995

Participated in a signature campaign for an appeal to “Learn from the Lessons Paid by Blood and Promote the Course of Democracy and a Rule of Law,” organized by Liu Xiaobo and Wang Dan. Hunted down and detained by authorities, who also searched his home.

March 1998

Issued “An Open Letter to the Ninth National People’s Congress,” urging the government to improve human rights and sign international human rights treaties.

October–December 1998

Was among those who applied to register the Sichuan Provincial Preparatory Committee for the China Democracy Party and established the Sichuan branch of China Human Rights Watch. After the arrest of Xu Wenli and others in charge of the China Human Rights Watch headquarters, co-founded the organization’s temporary headquarters and actively campaigned for the release of Xu Wenli and others.

January 1999

Traveled across China to discuss continuing the movement to organize an opposition party. Was detained in Beijing and held for a month in a shelter and investigation facility.

July 7, 1999

Criminally arrested by the Suining Municipal Public Security Bureau.

August 6, 1999

Convicted by the Suining Municipal Intermediate People’s Court of  “subversion of state power” and sentenced to 13 years in prison and three years of deprivation of political rights, and imprisoned at Sichuan No. 3 Prison (Chuandong Prison). Sentence later reduced by three years and eight months for good behavior.

November 6, 2008

Released from prison.

November 18, 2008

Ignoring his post-release deprivation of political rights restrictions, wrote and issued the “Open Letter to the Suining Municipal Party and Government on the Deng Yonggu Incident,” calling for the release of Deng Yonggu, who had reported over a long period the infringements on farmers’ rights by village cadres.

December 2008

Was among the first signers of Charter 08.


Published essays including “100 Days Following My Imprisonment,” called for political reform, criticized shoddily-constructed buildings that had collapsed during the May 2008 Sichuan earthquake, and made appeals on behalf of many rights defenders in custody, including Tan Zuoren, Huang Qi, Chen Yunfei, and the Three Netizens of Fujian.1

June 28, 2010

Summoned by the Suining police and criminally detained on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power.”

March 25, 2011

Convicted by the Suining Municipal Intermediate People’s Court of “inciting subversion of state power” and sentenced to ten years in prison and two years and four months of deprivation of political rights.

April 21, 2011

Transferred to Chuanzhong Prison in Sichuan Province. Projected release date: June 27, 2020.


1. The Three Netizens of Fujian—Fan Yanqiong (范燕琼), You Jingyou (游精佑), and Wu Huaying (吴华英)—wrote essays and released videos online in June 2009 to help expose a police cover up of a rape and murder case. They were convicted of “libel” by the Mawei District People’s Court of Fuzhou and sentenced to between one and two years in prison. ^

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