Minitrue: Do Not Report Hotelier’s Death by Torture

The following instructions, issued to the media by government authorities, have been leaked and distributed online. The name of the issuing body has been omitted to protect the source.

The case of CCTV presenter Liu Fangfei’s husband Liu Xiyong, who died after being tortured in detention, is being tried today in Tianjin. Do not aggregate, report, comment, or re-publish. (September 7) [Chinese]

On September 7, nine government prosecutors were tried in the Tianjin No 1 Intermediate Court on charges of “extorting a confession by ” for their alleged role in the death of Hong Kong hotelier Lau Hei-wing (also known as Liu Xiyong), who died in police detention in March 2017. Lucy Hornby of the Financial Times reports:

Lau Hei-wing, the owner of a Hong Kong hotel, died in March 2017 after 80 hours of sleep deprivation and torture, according to an indictment by the Tianjin No 1 Intermediate Court.

Eight of the prosecutors were charged with “extorting a confession by torture”, which is a crime in China. Two of the prosecutors were also accused of “intentional injury” — a charge that can carry the death penalty — while the interrogation supervisor was charged with “dereliction of duty”. 

[…] The indictment alleged that Lau had been blindfolded and tied to an interrogation chair, with his bound legs raised in front of him. “In order to hasten the confession” his mouth was taped shut, his nose was covered with a toilet plunger and his feet were stabbed with keys, the indictment said.

After several days, the interrogators “folded” Lau’s upper body towards his legs multiple times until he “went limp and lost consciousness”. A doctor at the interrogation centre, located near the North Korean border, was unable to revive him. Panicked, the interrogators then tried to destroy the recording devices installed in the interrogation room, the indictment alleges. [Source]

In November 2015, Lau was charged with defrauding the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (Asia) of HK$200 million in loans. While his criminal case was underway in Hong Kong, Lau traveled to the mainland, and a warrant for his arrest was issued. Lau’s wife, Liu Fangfei, is a well-known CCTV program host.

真Since directives are sometimes communicated orally to journalists and editors, who then leak them online, the wording published here may not be exact. Some instructions are issued by local authorities or to specific sectors, and may not apply universally across China. The date given may indicate when the directive was leaked, rather than when it was issued. CDT does its utmost to verify dates and wording, but also takes precautions to protect the source. See CDT’s collection of Directives from the Ministry of Truth since 2011.