Human Right in China (HRIC) has learned that Beijing political dissident Wang Xiaoning (王小宁) was released from prison today. Wang served 10 years at the Beijing Municipal No. 2 Prison on conviction of “inciting subversion of state power” and is subject to two years of post-release deprivation of political rights.
Wang’s case is one of several that resulted from Yahoo! Holdings (Hong Kong) Ltd. providing information about its users to Chinese police. Other cases include Shi Tao (师涛), a journalist sentenced to 10 years for “illegally providing state secrets overseas,” Li Zhi (李智), a dissident from Sichuan sentenced to eight years, and Jiang Lijun (姜力钧), a rights activist from Liaoning sentenced to four years, both for “inciting subversion of state power.”
Wang’s wife Yu Ling (俞陵)* and their son met Wang in the early morning of August 31 in the Zhanlanlu police substation in Beijing’s Xicheng District and accompanied him home.
Yu said that Wang had to serve out his full sentence because he never admitted guilt. “As his wife, I respect his choice and I have no complaint,” she said. Yu added that while Wang was in prison, family members were often harassed by the authorities—they were followed, watched, and were photographed and videotaped. She is not optimistic the family will be able to live peacefully like normal people after Wang’s release. “[Wang] is leaving a small prison only to enter a big prison,” she said.
Wang Xiaoning, 62, was criminally detained by the Beijing Municipal Bureau of State Security on September 1, 2002.
He was accused of “attacking and libeling China's current political system and social system” by disseminating articles “opposing the leadership of Communist Party of China and the Four Cardinal Principles,” writing and editing political commentaries and then distributing them using Yahoo!, publicizing the formation of a political party, and publishing articles in electronic publications overseas.
During Wang’s detention at the Beijing Municipal Bureau of State Security Detention Center, the police made violent, though unsuccessful, attempts to extract a confession from him. Wang was also subjected to various abuses in prison.
The Beijing Municipal No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court convicted Wang in September 2003. Wang’s ten-year prison sentence is among the heaviest given to those convicted of “inciting subversion to state power.” (In December 2009, Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波), who would become the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, was sentenced to 11 years, and in March 2011, democracy activist Liu Xianbin (刘贤斌) was sentenced to ten years.)
Wang’s life in prison is the subject of an essay by fellow inmate and dissident He Depu (何德普), who was released in January 2011 after serving eight years also on conviction of “inciting subversion of state power.” Below is an English translation of the essay by HRIC.
* An early version of this release gave the wrong characters of "余陵" for Yu Ling’s name. The correct characters are 俞陵.
For more information on Wang Xiaoning, see:
- “Take Action in the Year of the Rabbit!” February 1, 2011
- Jing Chu, “Asking Anyone with a Heart to Send a Postcard to Political Prisoners,” December 26, 2012 (Chinese only)
- “Yahoo! Cited in Decision Sentencing Internet Dissident Wang Xiaoning to 10 Years,” April 27, 2006
- Beijing Municipal No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court, Criminal Verdict, no 2226 (2003) (Chinese only)