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China 5 November 2008

Dissident Chen Daojun charged with “separatism” over an article about Tibet

Reporters Without Borders called for charges to be dropped against essayist Chen Daojun charged with “separatism” before the people’s court in Jintang, Sichuan province today for three articles posted online about rioting in Tibet in March 2008 and on the issue of civil liberties.

“This charge is astounding. The authorities are unable to hide their obsession with control of news and censorship of publications critical of the Party,” the worldwide press freedom organisation said.

Chen Daojun, an ecology activist from the Sichuan capital Chengdu, was arrested on 9 May 2008, for “attempted subversion of state power” after he joined a protest rally condemning an environmental threat. He had written an article posted on 5 May on a foreign-based Chinese website YiBao (ChinaE) calling for a halt to the operation of a petrochemical plant around 40 kilometres from the city.

A score of police officers arrested him at his home which they ransacked before taking him to the police station. The independent writers’ organisation Chinese PEN condemned it as “the latest manifestation of the paranoia of the authorities towards dissidents, ahead of the Olympic Games.”

Read the offending articles (in Chinese) about events in Lhassa, Tibet in March 2008 about anti-western feeling in China about the policy of the government of Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao and the consequences for the rural economy.

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