Oxford Alumnus Appeal for Liu Jianshu

Oxford Alumnus Appeal Liu Jianshu

Like many Chinese young people, Liu Jianshu 柳建树 studied abroad and chose to come back to China. Unlike most young Chinese graduates from abroad, he did not choose a place to make a lot of money with his background of overseas study in Oxford; instead, he made himself an NGO worker and dedicated to the development of civil society in China.

Graduated from the Chinese University of Politics and Law, Liu also hold a Master of Law from Oxford University. In 2011, he returned to China after Oxford and continued to work in Liren Rural Library, a non-governmental organization that had run a rural library project with as many as 22 libraries across China before its closing down due to “tremendous pressure” from the local authorities in September 2014. Liu is the Vice Executive of Liren until he left Liren later in August 2012. He also established a website Xizhao Legal Forum 犀照法律援助与研究平台, providing legal assistance and research service to the public. In 2014, he is one of the main campaigners that launched the petition to abolish China’s Custody and Education system. an extrajudicial system that is easily abused by local governments.

In a 2012 news report (in Chinese) about Liren, the author also writes about Liu Jianshu:

Time passed so fast talking with Liu Jianshu. During our short conversation, I feel that this young man has strong social responsibility and unlimited capacity, as well as concerns about the current political system. There is no security working for public interest, and it seems a common phenomenon that it can not satisfy one’s parents and family’s expectations. The continuity of this kind of life is a test, it faces many pragmatic issues coming from the family and living, although they will not affect the general direction of the work too much.
Li Yingqiang 李英强 (the Director of Liren) always says, “Do things according to the limit of your power”. “It is easy to be pessimistic when working for public interest, there is big obstacle. Never give oneself too much pressure, otherwise one will get crazy. Li Yingqiang has done this for five years, his work shall be able to continue, I presume. My father opposes, different values, we just can’t persuade each other.” For this, Liu Jianshu looked helpless.
When I asked him about future expectations, he said that he hoped that the government would open this field (civil society) soon, just like it treated private enterprises, simple registration and not too much limitation, to provide the social welfare and safeguard system to a certain level. This probably needs a third sector to be a transitional lubricant. Intellectuals still have emotions towards the country, if there is enough open space, there is a lot to do. The time to live a real happy life, is probably still far away.”

In November 2014, Liu Jianshu was detained by the police in Beijing together with many other NGO workers and intellectuals around the same period. Zeng Jianyan wrote in her blog that:

不要再問為什麼抓捕會發生在徐曉頭上,正如不要問為什麼郭玉閃、黃凱平、何振軍、凌麗莎、寇延丁、陳堃、薛野、柳建樹、劉斌、張啟斌、夏霖、浦志強會被抓,因為他們有專業能力又甘願承受清貧,在各自的崗位上為這個社會的改進作了最大的努力。
Please do not ask again why they arrest Xu Xiao, just like please do not ask why Guo Yushan, Huang Kaiping, He Zhenjun, Ling Lisha, Kou Yanding, Chen Kun, Xue Ye, Liu Jianshu, Liu Bin, Zhang Qibin, Xia Lin, Pu Zhiqing were arrested, it is because they have professional capacity, willingness to bear honest poverty, and have made ultimate effort for social change in their positions.

A netizen commented on the arrest of Liu Jianshu on weibo, “I am shocked to know that Liu was arrested. He graduated from the Chinese University of Politics and law, used to work in many NGOs, such as Transition Institute, Liren, XiZhao etc. Not long ago, he was visiting University of Toronto, and I met him in my office. We also went to a union gathering once. For me, he is one of the rare and brilliant Chinese young people, and the backbone and future of China. If people like him are treated so ruthlessly, no rationality under heaven!

On Sinaweibo, Zhao Sile (weibo id 赵思乐feminist), wife of Liu Jianshu writes:

(30 Nov 2014)
柳建树今年28岁,我24岁,作为受难者和受难者的战友,我们都太过年轻,当然有许多难以承受之重。但反抗不反抗,危险不危险,受苦不受苦,不是我们能选择的,我们能选择的只是要不要正直真实地活着。剩下的,境遇,是“他们”的选择。
Liu Jianshu is 28 years old, I am 24, as the sufferer and his companion, we are all too young, feel a lot unbearable pain and responsibility. However it does not depend on ourselves to rebel or not rebel, to be in danger or out of it, to suffer or not to suffer. What we can choose is if we want to live in truth. What is left, what we will encounter, is “their” choice.
(9 Dec 2014)
【柳建树状况更新:允许会见!】律师刚刚打来电话,看守所下周四安排律师会见小树!给小树寄过明信片的朋友,请在此条下留下你的明信片落款(不需要真名),我会整理名单请律师带给小树,不管他收没收到,都让他知道大家的支持。可授权我使用的明信片照片请发到achilles.sl.zhao@gmail.com。谢谢关注!
(Updates about Liu Jianshu’s situation: lawyer visit is permitted!) The lawyer just called and agreed him to visit Xiaoshu (little tree, nick name of Liu)! Friends who sent postcards to Xiaoshu, please leave your postcards signature (not necessarily real name), I will prepare a list and ask the lawyer to help passing it to Xiaoshu. No matter if he receives the postcards or not, I want him to know your support. If you also entrust me to use your postcard photo, please send it to achilles.sl.zhao@gmail.com. Thanks for your support!

If you would like to write the address in Chinese:
北京市豆各庄501号
北京市第一看守所
转 柳建树 收
邮编:100121

read more: Young, Idealistic and Caught up in a Wave of Detention.

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One Response to Oxford Alumnus Appeal for Liu Jianshu

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