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China 28 February 2006

Journalist Li Yuanlong charged with “subversion”

Li Yuanlong, who was arrested on 29 September 2005, was charged with “incitement to subversion” on 9 February 2006. The former journalist on the Bijie Daily is accused of posting a series of articles on foreign-based websites about the harsh living conditions of peasants in Guizhou province in the south-west. He has not been allowed any visits since he was placed in custody.

The organisation, Human Rights in China, said his arrest was triggered by the publication of two articles under the pen name Ye Lang (Night wolf), headlined “Becoming American in spirit” and “Of the banal nature of life and of the lamentable nature of death”.

31.01.06 Call for release of journalist Li Yuanlong

Reporters Without Borders urged the release of journalist Li Yuanlong, who was arrested on 29 September 2005 by members of the security bureau in Guizhou province in south-west China, after posting articles online exposing local people’s wretched living standards.

“We are outraged by this arrest”, said Reporters Without Borders. “This latest censorship proves the Chinese authorities’ unease over escalating social problems.”

The 45-year-old journalist on Bijie Ribao was on his way to work in the town of Bijie when he was picked up by the security bureau. His home, which was already under surveillance before his arrest, was immediately searched.

His wife, Yang Nushi and his son have not received any news about him and have not been allowed to visit him in prison in Bijie. “He was already in very poor health,” said his wife, who fears he will not survive his prison conditions.

She is also worried about the family’s welfare. “His salary has not been paid since Li Yuanlong’s arrest, which has plunged us into huge financial difficulties,” she added to journalists on The Epoch Times.

The journalist’s file was transferred on 22 October to the office of the Bijie district prosecutor. After a month-long investigation he sent back the file to the provincial court, saying that there was insufficient evidence to put him on trial.

Li faces charges of incitement to subversion for posting articles online highlighting society’s failings and calling for freedom and democracy. Two articles headlined, “In my head, I am an American national” and “Be born simply, die miserably” were seen by the Chinese communist party as particularly “serious”.

The party has also been angered by his reports. “Li Yuanlong interviewed a lot of poor children who were unable to go to school,” said his wife. “The publication of these articles had a huge effect, which led to funds being collected to pay for them to go back to school (..). However, the local party banned him from publishing these interviews, accusing him of showing society’s negative side.”

More than 50 cyberdissidents are currently in prison in China, including Yang Tianshui, who arrested in Nanjing in December 2005 for posting articles online. He is being held secretly and has not been allowed to see a lawyer. His family do not know where he is imprisoned.

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