A teacher in China has been detained for posting images on the internet of schools that collapsed in the devastating Sichuan earthquake, a rights group said yesterday.
Liu Shaokun was detained for “disseminating rumours and destroying social order”, said Human Rights in China and was ordered to serve a year of “re-education through labour”.
Since he was detained on June 25 on suspicion of “inciting subversion,” Liu’s family has been denied access to him and were not formally notified of his detention as required by the law, the rights group said.
The May 12 disaster left nearly 88,000 people dead or missing, including 9,000 school children, according to official reports.
The poor condition of the school buildings has become a sensitive political issue for the government, and grieving parents have staged numerous protests demanding an inquiry.
Many have accused local officials of colluding with builders to allow them to get away with cheap and unsafe practices.
“Instead of investigating and pursuing accountability for shoddy and dangerous school buildings, the authorities are resorting to (labour camps) to silence and lock up concerned citizens like teacher Liu Shaokun,” said Sharon Hom, head of the rights group.
“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.”
Mr Liu’s wife was informed by police last week that the teacher, from Guanghan Middle School in Deyang city, had been sent to a labour camp.
The “re-education through labour” system allows police to incarcerate a crime suspect for up to four years without the need for a criminal trial or a formal charge.
The system, in place since 1957, has been widely criticised by the UN and other organisations.