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Locked up for internet "crimes"

July 27, 2001

The following are some of the individuals known to have been detained or sentenced to prison as a result of posting material on the Internet.


Guo Qinghai

Guo, 36, a freelance writer, was arrested on September 15, 2000. On April 3, a court in Cangzhou, Hebei Province, tried and sentenced him to four years in prison. Guo was charged with “inciting to overthrow state power.” Guo had posted some 40 articles on the Internet, as well as publishing pieces in the Hong Kong-based magazine Kaifang calling for political reform. No one informed the family before the two-hour trial began, and as a result no family member attended. Guo did not have a defense lawyer.

Jiang Shihua

Jiang, 27, was a teacher with the No. 9 Middle School in Nanchong, Sichuan Province, and owner of the Silicon Valley Internet Caf□in Nanchong. He was detained on August 16, 2000, five days after posting a series of articles critical of the Chinese government on an Internet bulletin board. He was charged with “subversion of state power.” The Nanchong Intermediate People’s Court sentenced him to two years in prison. In May 2001, a higher court in Sichuan rejected his appeal.

Liu Weifang

In June 2001, authorities in Xinjiang Autonomous Region sentenced Liu, 40, a small business owner, to three years in prison for posting “reactionary articles” criticizing the Chinese Communist Party and its leaders on Internet bulletin boards. He had used his Internet name, lgwf, but authorities traced the messages to him. The Xinjiang Daily said Liu got off lightly because he had admitted guilt.

Qi Yanchen

Qi, 36, is one of the founders of the China Development Union, a quasi-nongovernmental organization which was banned in late 1998. Qi was detained in September 1999. On September 19, 2000, the Intermediate People’s Court in Cangzhou, Hebei Province, sentenced him to four years in prison for posting articles and parts of his book, The Collapse of China, on the Internet, and for writing article for Kaifang magazine. The book is critical of China’s current social situation. Qi was charged with spreading anti-government messages on the Internet and was convicted after a trial that lasted four and a half hours.



Huang Qi

Computer engineer Huang Qi, 36, was charged with the crime of “inciting subversion of state power.” Huang, together with his wife Zeng Li, ran, a Web site aimed at helping people to find missing persons. On June 3, 2000, authorities in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, detained Huang after “subversive” content appeared on the site. On September 25, Huang Qi was reportedly beaten in detention by three policemen after notes he had taken were confiscated. During the beating, he lost one tooth and was cut on the forehead, according to a letter he gave to his lawyer in November.

On January 2, 2001, the Chengdu City Procuratorate accused Huang of violating Articles 103 and 105 of the Criminal Law. The articles punish actions that involve “organizing national separatism, destroying national unity”; “organizing, plotting or carrying out activities aimed at subverting state political power”; and “overthrowing the socialist system.” Huang’s trial began on February 13, 2001, but the trial was suspended after he reportedly collapsed in court. It was re-scheduled for June 27, but again postponed. Huang was finally tried in August in a closed hearing from which even his family was excluded, but no sentence has yet been announced.

Yang Zili, Xu Wei, Jin Haike and Zhang Honghai were tried in September for “crimes” including publishing materials on the Internet. See page 10 for details.




Chi Shouzhu

On April 18, 2001, police detained Chi, 44, a worker in Changchun, Jilin Province. They found on him articles with political content which he had downloaded from overseas Web sites. As of April 2001, he was detained in Lingyuan Prison, Liaoning Province.

Hu Dalin

Hu, 30, was detained on May 18, 2001, apparently for helping his father, a left-wing essayist named Lu Jiaping, post his writings on Web sites. The authorities were particularly angry over an article by the father about the case of the US spy plane forced to land in China. The article was posted on May 11, 2001.

Li Hongmin

Li, a businessman from central Hunan, was reportedly detained after e-mailing the Chinese language version of The Tiananmen Papers to friends. He was detained in Shaoyang, Hunan, as of July 2001 according to the ICHRD.

Lu Xinhua

Lu, the author of several articles published on overseas Web sites, was detained on March 11, 2001, for “subversion.” According to the ICHRD, Lu was formally arrested on April 20.

Wang Jinbo

Wang was taken into custody on May 6, 2001, from his home in Shandong Province, for “libeling police on the Internet” but the content of his allegedly libelous remarks is not clear.

Wang Zhenyong

Wang, 30, a former assistant professor of psychology at Southwestern Normal University in Chongqing, Sichuan Province, was arrested on June 2, 2001, in Shenzhen for downloading and distributing by e-mail promotional material on the Falungong spiritual movement.

Sources: Human Rights Watch, Reporters sans Frontieres, Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy (ICHRD)


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