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Internet Activist Yan Jun Tried for Subversion

October 27, 2003

Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned of the secret arraignment of Shaanxi-based Internet activist Yan Jun on charges of “incitement to subvert state power.”

According to sources in China, Yan was charged with subversion in closed proceedings at the Intermediate People’s Court in Xi’an at 9:30 in the morning on October 24. The details of the charge state that Yan had posted criticisms of the Chinese government on the Internet.

The court did not notify Yan’s parents about the date or time of the proceedings, but they heard of it through informal channels and rushed to Xi’an, only to be refused admittance to the courtroom.

Yan Jun was originally detained on April 2 and formally arrested on May 9. According to sources, during his detention at the Xi'an No. 1 Detention Center Yan has been subjected to constant beating by other prisoners under the encouragement of Public Security police. On June 28 his nose was broken, and due to the obvious severity of his injuries he was transferred to the hospital for treatment. Yan has made a written complaint of his abusive treatment, but officials have refused to pass it along to the Procuratorate. Distressed by her son’s suffering, Yan’s mother hopes that the appropriate authorities will intervene to prevent further beatings.

A 1994 graduate of the Shaanxi Normal College and a former high school teacher, Yan Jun is one of the province’s most active dissidents. Apart from posting articles on the Internet, Yan has also participated in open letters calling for reforms. He was previously imprisoned for three months in March of 1993.

“This is yet another classic example of the Chinese government’s suppression of free expression on the Internet,” said HRIC president Liu Qing. “It is bad enough that Yan Jun is being brought to trial for nothing worse than airing his political views. But what makes it even worse is that the authorities are punishing him even before he is convicted by allowing him to be physically abused by other prisoners. It is the responsibility of the authorities to ensure the physical welfare of political dissidents and all other prisoners while in custody.”

Human Rights in China is an international monitoring and advocacy non-governmental organization based in New York and Hong Kong. Founded in March 1989 by Chinese scientists and scholars, it conducts research, education and outreach programs to promote universally recognized human rights and advance the institutional protection of these rights in the People’s Republic of China.