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China 15 September 2006

Cyber-dissident Zhu Yufu freed, but fellow-activist He Depu still held as health declines

Reporters Without Borders voiced relief today on learning that cyber-dissident and pro-democracy activist Zhu Yufu was released yesterday on completing a seven-year sentence for “subversion.” Zhu was arrested in June 1999 in Hangzhou, in the southeastern province of Zhejiang, along with three other members of the unrecognised China Democracy Party (CDP).

“We point out that 49 other cyber-dissidents are still behind bars, including Wu Yilong and Mao Qingxiang, who were arrested with Zhu and who are serving sentences of 11 and eight years respectively,” the press freedom organisation said. “We are also very concerned about He Depu, another China Democracy Party member arrested in 2002, whose health has deteriorated considerably in prison.”

Zhu was arrested for writing for the CDP’s magazine and for posting articles on the Internet “critical of the socialist authorities and system.” After being given his seven-year sentence on 9 November 2001, he was placed in Zhejiang province No. 6 prison where conditions were exceptionally harsh. He was forced to make umbrellas and had to write out the 54 articles of the prison regulations every day. As a result of frequent mistreatment by prison guards, he has a ruptured eardrum and says he is very weak.

He Depu was able to receive a visit from his wife in Beijing No.2 prison on 23 August. He has lost a lot of weight and had high blood pressure, but his family is not allowed to give him any medicine. He has had hearing problems ever since a policeman hit him on the left ear as he left an appeal hearing. His wife filed a request last November for him to be treated outside the prison, but the prison authorities refused.

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