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China 18 December 2007

Held on trumped-up charges, Nanjing-based journalist finally gets to see lawye

Journalist Sun Lin denied charges of "illegal possession of firearms" and "disturbing the peace" when he finally received a visit from lawyer Mo Shaoping on 14 December in prison in the eastern city of Nanjing. Mo was refused a visit in September. The police have sent the findings of their investigation to prosecutors along with a request that Sun be brought to trial.

Also known by the pen-name Jie Mu, he told Mo that, during questioning, the police asked him about his journalistic activities and told him he had been arrested for refusing to stop writing articles for Boxun (http://news.boxun.com/), a Chinese-language news website based abroad.

He said the firearms charge was based on false statements by persons who claim he gave them air pistols of the kind used for sport. He does not even know one of these persons. He added that the charge of disturbing the peace was based on an incident in 2004 when he was helping evicted people and did nothing illegal.

Sun’s wife, He Fang, has meanwhile been detained on a charge of "illegal possession of explosives."

Reporters Without Borders calls for the release of both Sun and He on the grounds that the charges against them have clearly been trumped up.

Arrested in Nanjing on 30 May, Sun was the founder of the now-banned newspaper Da Du Shi as well as being a Boxun correspondent. He told Reporters Without Borders before his arrest that he had written articles about abuse of authority but had never done anything illegal.


05.06.07 Correspondent for website Boxun accused of “running a gang”

Sun Lin, correspondent in Nanjing, eastern China, for the news website Boxun, who was arrested on 30 May 2007, has been accused of “running a gang”, according to a report in the official Nanjing Morning News. Police said that 20 other suspected members of his organisation had been arrested and found to be in possession of weapons.

Reporters Without Borders said the charges against Sun Lin were unconvincing and considered that his arrest was really linked to reports he had posted on the Boxun news website, which is banned in China. “It is commonplace for pro-democracy activists to be the subject of completely trumped-up charges based on common-law crimes,” the worldwide press freedom organisation said. “The authorities are apparently trying to silence Sun Lin, who was working on sensitive subjects such as police brutality and cases of expropriation”.

Sun Lin’s wife, who was arrested at the same time as him, has still not been released. They are believed held in Nanjing prison. The online journalist posted an article in May on the system of accreditation for journalists covering the Beijing Olympics in 2008 (read about Reporters Without Borders position on the Beijing games - http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=22401). According to Boxun, Sun Lin was reportedly beaten by police on the day of his arrest and he has been denied visits from his family.


31.05.07

Journalist with news website Boxun arrested

Reporters Without Borders called for the release of Sun Lin (better known as Jie Mu), a correspondent for the news website Boxun http://news.boxun.com, who was arrested on 30 May by plainclothes police in the eastern city of Nanjing. His wife, He Fang, was arrested at the same time but freed four hours later. They also searched the journalist’s apartment.

On 29 May, police detained for several hours a score of people at a cafeteria run by He Fang. Jie Mu sent film to the US-based Chinese-language Boxun describing their detention. He also recently interviewed victims of official abuses in several parts of China.

A foreign ministry official in Nanjing went to his home in March and told him to stop working as a journalist and seized his press card. Jie Mu, who founded the now-banned newspaper Da Du Shi, told Reporters Without Borders he had printed stories about abuses of power but had never done anything illegal.




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