Updates on the Liaoyang Trial -- Labour Activists’ Families Harassed

Families of Liaoyang labour activists warned not to talk to overseas media

On January 27, Yao Dan told CLB that they had no idea when the verdict of her father’s trial would be announced. While the media in mainland China holds their tongue concerning the Liaoyang trial, the government intends to tighten the news blackout even further. Earlier this month, the home phones of Xiao and Yao were cut off from incoming calls. The two families have been warned recently by the Public Security Bureau (PSB) that no communication with the overseas media would be allowed.

Yao Dan said that four officers from the PSB, who were investigating the case, ‘visited’ the two families on January 23. They talked to each family for more than one hour, warning them that they “are not allowed to receive any calls from outside”. The investigators said that Yao Dan “is still very young”, that “China would not hear the opinions of the international media”, and that “their reports would change nothing”. When asked whose message it was, the investigators told Yao Dan that they spoke on behalf of the “PSB” and “on their own”, but then to Xiao’s family they said that they were speaking “on behalf of the [Communist] Party”.

Yao Dan said that the officers at first wanted to bring her and Xiao Yu, the daughter of Xiao Yunliang, to the PSB and talk to them, but she refused, saying, “I don’t speak the same language as you do. I won’t go there! If you have enough evidence to charge me, come here with the warrant, and I will go with you. Otherwise I won’t go with you!” So the PSB sent officers to these two families to warn them both.

Yao Dan said that they tried to install another phone line. The staff from the telecommunication authority came on January 26, but realising that the customer was Guo Xiujing, Yao Fuxin’s wife, he refused to proceed with the installation. She asked for the reason again and again, but the man just replied, “Please don’t give me a hard time – I can’t do it for you”. Yao Dan pointed out that all the government departments gave the same reply when asked to do something. They have also tried to complain with the mayor’s office, but even when the city’s telecommunication authority sent their staff, they got the same response -- “I can’t do anything; this involves political issues”.

Yao Dan also suspected that her mobile phone was bugged by the national security authorities, but she was not threatened. “You report objectively – for me it doesn’t matter. The Chinese media don’t report it, and [the government] even does not allow the overseas media to report it. What does that mean?!” she said.

Xiao Yunliang’s health is deteriorating

The health condition of Xiao Yunliang continues to raise concern. He is suffering from heart and eye problems. Xiao Yunji, his brother and defense lawyer, said that the government just allowed Xiao Yunliang to see the doctor once before the trial. He was given medicine, but not the details of the diagnosis.

Xiao Yu said that her father was not in good health when they last visited him on October 9 at Sujiatun Detention Centre in Shenyang. His hair and beard were long, and his clothes were very dirty. She said that he was only allowed to go to the toilet three times a day. Worrying about his health condition, they called the detention centre and the Liaoyang City PSB nearly every day, but the reply has been that “he is quite good”, and “there’re no such things”. But they later learned from the court that “Xiao Yunliang can hardly see anything; yet he can still walk”.

When Xiao Yunliang was finally brought to trial, Xiao Yu saw her father walking with great difficulty, and had to be assisted by two [court police officers]. About 10 minutes later, he collapsed and had to sit down for the whole trial. On January 23, when the PSB officers went to Xiao’s house, Xiao’s wife requested the officers take Xiao Yunliang to the doctor. But they replied that when Xiao was sent to the prosecuting office, he had been in good condition at the PSB, and that his health problem had nothing to do with them. The authorities did not promise to take Xiao to the doctor.

“The Chinese New Year is coming. It’s hard to tell you how we feel…oh, a few days ago, our two families had a small gathering to celebrate the New Year… This is all we can do now,” Yao Dan said.

China Labour Bulletin


More details on the Liaoyang Trial:

Inside the courtroom

Liaoyang workers stand in solidarity despite government repression

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