Happy Chinese New Year, prisoner-Freedom House

January 31, 2012

Writers receive long prison terms during holiday season

China Media Bulletin: January 26, 2012


Several detained writers and online dissidents received severe prison sentences or formal indictments during the holiday season, when foreign and public scrutiny was at an ebb. Beijing-based rights lawyer Liu Xiaoyuan said it was the “right time” for the Chinese Communist Party to act, as the country is scheduled to carry out a leadership transition in the second half of the year.

  • Chen Wei, a cyberdissident based in Sichuan, was sentenced on December 23 to nine years in prison and two years’ post-release deprivation of political rights by the provincial court. Convicted of “inciting subversion of state power,” Chen had been detained in February 2011 for a series of political essays that he posted on overseas websites between March 2009 and January 2011.
  • Chen Youcai, a Guizhou-based writer who uses the pen name Chen Xi, was sentenced on December 26 to 10 years in prison and three years’ post-release deprivation of political rights by a court in Guiyang. He was detained on November 29 for “inciting subversion,” having published 36 articles online that criticized the Chinese government and campaigned for independent candidates during local People’s Congress elections.
  • Li Tie, a Hubei-based writer, was sentenced by a Wuhan court on January 18 to 10 years in prison for “subverting state power.” Li had been detained in September 2010 and tried in April 2011, after he wrote and published online articles that were critical of the Chinese Communist Party.
  • Zhu Yufu, a Zhejiang-based writer who was arrested in April 2011, is set to stand trial on subversion charges, having written and published online a poem entitled “It’s Time,” in which he alluded to the Arab Spring and called for Chinese people to defend their rights. According to Zhu’s lawyer, the Hangzhou authorities finally issued an indictment on January 16.

* Telegraph 1/19/2012: China rushes to jail activists before political handover
* Reuters 1/17/2012: News Chinese dissident to stand trial for poem
* BBC 1/19/2012: When words are crimes in China
* IFEX 1/4/2012: Dissidents who posted ‘subversive’ articles online get up to 10 years in prison
* Human Rights in China 12/23/2011: Democracy activist Chen Wei gets nine years for ‘inciting subversion’

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