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Internet Activist Jiang Lijun Formally Arrested

March 25, 2003

For Immediate Release

Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned of the formal arrest of Jiang Lijun, an Internet activist who disappeared in November. According to HRIC’s sources, Jiang is currently being detained in Qincheng Prison.

Sources say that Jiang is a close confederate of two other Internet activists currently in detention: Liu Di, the Beijing Normal University student also known as the Stainless Steel Mouse, and Li Yibin, publisher of the “Democracy and Freedom” Web site. Liu Di, Li Yibin, and another Internet activist, Ouyang Yi, were all secretly detained at the end of last year, and sources believe Jiang Lijun’s arrest is part of the same case. Indeed, there is speculation that police regard Jiang as a leader among this group of Internet activists because of his age and relative level of influence.

Sources say that the day after Jiang’s secret arrest on November 6, Public Security police took him directly to Beijing’s Qincheng Prison, which historically has been the custody venue for prisoners in the most serious cases. Former Qincheng Prison detainees have included China’s last Emperor, Puyi, and senior level Communist Party officials.

During the first four months Jiang Lijun was in detention, his wife, school teacher Yan Lina, was unable to obtain any information or legal documentation from the Public Security regarding the reason for Jiang’s arrest. Finally on March 25, an official at Beijing’s Public Security Bureau told Yan Lina that Jiang Lijun was formally arrested on December 14 and charged with “incitement to subvert state power,” but Yan Lina was not given a written copy of the charges. Yan Lina has retained the legal services of Beijing lawyer Mo Shaoping, who is well known for taking on high-profile dissident cases.

HRIC president Liu Qing observes, “The Chinese authorities’ handling of the Jiang Lijun case shows how determined they are to stamp out any dissenting activity on the Internet. It is most regrettable that in their intolerance for free expression, the authorities see Chinese people’s access to hi tech communications not as an opportunity, but as a threat.”

HRIC deplores the official clampdown on political expression on the Internet, and calls on the Chinese government to release all Internet activists currently in custody.

For more information, contact:
Stacy Mosher (English) 212-268-9074
Liu Qing (Chinese) 212-239-4495