Liu was arrested sometime after September 26, 2000, when security officials from the Ninth Agricultural Brigade District, in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, came to his house, confiscated his computer, and announced that he was being officially investigated, according to an account that Liu posted online. His most recent essay was dated October 20, 2000.
Liu had recently posted a number of essays criticizing China’s leaders and political system in Internet chat rooms. The essays, which the author signed either with his real name or with the initials “lgwf,” covered topics such as official corruption, development policies in China’s western regions, and environmental issues.
“The reasons for my actions are all above-board,” Liu wrote in one essay. “They are not aimed at any one person or any organization; rather, they are directed at any behavior in society that harms humanity. The goal is to speed up humanity’s progress and development.” The official Xinjiang Daily characterized Liu’s work as “a major threat to national security.” According to a June 15, 2001, report in the Xinjiang Daily, the Ninth Agricultural Brigade District’s Intermediate People’s Court sentenced Liu to three years in prison for “inciting subversion against state power.”
According to the terms of his sentence, Liu should have been released in October 2003, but CPJ has been unable to obtain information on his legal status.