Human Rights in China has learned that Liu Shaokun, a teacher who was sentenced to one year of Re-education Through Labour after posting online his photographs of collapsed school buildings in earthquake-affected areas, was released by the authorities on 24 September. He will now be permitted to serve his sentence outside the labour camp.
A teacher at Guanghan Middle School in Deyang City, Sichuan Province, Liu travelled to heavily-hit areas after the May 12 earthquake, took photos of collapsed school buildings, and posted them online. In a media interview, he expressed his anger at “the shoddy tofu buildings.”
Liu was detained on June 25 at his school. Since then, his family and colleagues have been appealing for a sentence outside the RTL camp. On September 12, Liu's family was told that the RTL Committee of Deyang City had finally approved their application.
Following Liu's sentencing in July, HRIC reported his case and urged the Chinese government to release him, which drew the attention of the international community, including EI members.
“It is absurd that the authorities imposed RTL on Liu merely because he attempted to document the situation in the quake-hit zone," said Sharon Hom, executive director of Human Rights in China. "Accurate and timely information about the earthquake damage is important both to reconstruction efforts and to informed responses to future earthquakes.”
Liu now remains under residential surveillance, but the police have agreed to return Liu's computer and other belongings that they confiscated.