China: Zhongxun Liu

If we do not fight for our rights, we can never get them.

— Zhongxun Liu

Born in 1971, Liu Zhongxun grew up in a village beside the Yangtze river. She fights to protect her rights and dignity as a citizen. She resists the unreasonable rules and regulations made by local governments, and brings the local cadres who tyrannize peasants to court. She has no fear of threats, and with law and perseverance, she wins trials. She speaks from a sense of justice for the villagers, and does her best to disseminate knowledge about laws.

Brought up in a village beside the Yangtze river, Liu Zhongxun has learnt the hard way to protect her rights and dignity as a citizen, and to uphold justice. She now spends time talking to the villagers about the importance of law in a system dominated by the will of those in authority. Liu Zhongxun and her child lived in her parents’ home, where she was abused by the village head who intercepted her mail and slapped unreasonable penalties on her. Liu argued with the authorities, but was illegally detained. The township Party secretary was a bully, and he announced publicly, “Nobody, except Party General Secretary Jiang Zemin and Premier Li Peng, can ever have control over me!” But Liu Zhongxun refused to be cowed down. Using law, she appealed to the higher authorities for help, and asked for administrative reconsideration. She won a partial victory. Liu’s family suffered a big loss when the village blasted stones to construct a road. Her three houses were damaged and six pigs died. Instead of proper compensation, Liu Zhongxun got into a lawsuit that lasted several years, and she was treated unfairly. Regardless of the threats, Liu learnt and made use of laws, and persisted till she won the lawsuit. Because of her activities against abusive local cadres, Liu has had to face retaliation. As defense, she chose to study law. In 2002, a villager named Luo was severely injured by a blast, which was a retaliatory act of the village Party secretary. But no one seemed to be concerned. Liu voluntarily helped Luo to file a lawsuit. By collecting evidence, appealing to different higher authorities for help, they finally won the lawsuit in October 2004. Luo was compensated. Liu’s work in the village extends far beyond herself, she represents the efforts of vulnerable sectors to pursue a life of equality and dignity, in a moment of reform and progress in China.