Prominent writer and Internet activist Du Daobin (杜导斌) was released earlier today from the Hanxi Prison (汉西监狱) in Wuhan, Hubei Province, after serving a three-year sentence for “inciting subversion of state power” (煽动颠覆国家政权罪), a conviction that was based on 26 essays he wrote and published on the Internet. Du is now subject to two years of deprivation of political rights, which prohibits him from voting, accepting interviews, making speeches, or publishing.
Human Rights in China (HRIC) has been unable to reach Du or his family. But informed sources confirmed that Du arrived home after the release, and that his family declined to speak publicly, fearing repercussion.
“Stripped of the right to publish or speak publicly for two years, freedom for Du Daobin is in fact an extended prison term in disguise,” said Sharon Hom, Executive Director of HRIC. “Equally regrettable is that even Du’s family has been intimidated into silence.”
A prolific writer and a participant in the 1989 protests in Wuhan, Du wrote numerous essays in the 1990s and early 2000s on various topics, including the unequal tax burden shared by residents of rural and urban areas, Falun Gong, and other human rights issues in China. In July 2001, Du became the first person in China to openly criticize former president Jiang Zemin’s “Three Represents” policy when he posted his essay, “Jiang Zemin’s Worthless July 1 Speech.” Netizens picked up the essay and circulated it widely through e-mail.
On October 28, 2003, Du was detained and his home and computer were searched. On June 11, 2004, Du was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment, plus two years of deprivation of political rights at the completion of his sentence. His final appeal was rejected on August 3, 2004. The prison sentence was initially suspended for four years, which is similar to placing him on probation in lieu of serving the time in prison. However, on July 21, 2008, just before the expiration of the four-year suspension period, the authorities took Du into custody again. They rescinded his suspended sentence, citing serious violations, and imprisoned him.
For more information on Du Daobin, see: