Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned that Shandong-based dissident Ren Ziyuan was sentenced to 10 years in prison for “subversion of state power” on the basis of an article posted on the Internet. The verdict and sentence were delivered on the morning of March 17, Beijing time.
Background of the case: Ren Ziyuan was a secondary school teacher in Zoucheng, Shandong Province. On April 28, 2005, Ren departed on a trip to Wuhan, Shanghai and Jiangsu Province, and was detained in Nantong, Jiangsu Province on May 10. According to his indictment, Ren was detained because of an essay disseminated on the Internet called “The Road to Democracy” (Minzhu zhi lu), in which he expressed the opinion that the people have the right to overthrow tyranny by violent means. Ren was also suspected of drawing up plans to establish an organization called “Mainland Democracy Frontline.”
On September 30, 2005, Ren was tried for subversion at the Jining Municipal Intermediate People’s Court, at which time his defense attorney, Zhang Chengmao, submitted a “not guilty” plea. On March 15, the Jining National Defense Unit notified Zhang and Ren’s father that the court would deliver its judgment on March 17.