Afrique Ameriques Europe Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
China 6 August 2002

Cyber-dissident sentenced to 11 years in jail

Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières) today called for the release of Li Dawei, who has just been sentenced to 11 years imprisonment for having downloaded and printed out pro-democracy texts from the Internet.

"As far as we know, this is the most severe sentence ever imposed by the Chinese justice system on a web user or cyber-dissident", said Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard, who addressed a letter on 6 August to Justice Minister Fusen Zhang asking him to do everything possible to ensure Li Dawei is released.

"Arrests, blocked sites, self-censorship, torture, police surveillance and closure of cyber-cafés, the Chinese State now has a repressive arsenal that testifies to its hostility toward freedom of expression on the Internet", Ménard said.

According to the Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, Li Dawei was sentenced on 24 June by a court in China’s northwestern province of Gansu after having been found guilty of trying to "subvert the state power". A former policeman, he was accused of having downloaded more than 500 texts form Chinese democracy sites based abroad, especially, and having edited them in a number of unpublished books. He was also said to have been in contact with "reactionary" organisations based abroad.

Aged 40, Li Dawei was arrested in April 2002 and his trial began in May. His lawyer, Dou Peixin, said the province’s highest court had accepted the appeal filed against the conviction.

At least 20 cyber-dissidents are currently detained in China, including Huang Qi, a web site’ creator, who was arrested on 3 June 2000 and is still held without having been tried. Yang Zili and three animators of the site have been held without trial since March 2001.

In this country
3 June - China
“Tank Man” photo displayed outside Chinese embassy in Paris on eve of Tiananmen Square massacre
2 June - China
All references to Tiananmen Square massacre closely censored for 20 years
12 May - China
Foreign reporters prevented from working in Sichuan a year after earthquake
24 April - China
Concern that detained Tibetan magazine editor is being tortured
25 March - China
Government blocks access to YouTube

in the annual report
China - Annual report 2008
China - Annual report 2007
China - Annual report 2006

4 May 2009 - Nepal
Mission report : A call to end violence and impunity
2 April 2009 - Pakistan
Fact-finding visit by Reporters Without Borders to Swat “valley of fear”
16 March 2009 - Afghanistan
Report of fact-finding mission : Press freedom in free-fall in run-up to presidential election

Asia archives
2009 archives
2008 archives
2007 archives
2006 archives
2005 archives
2004 archives
2003 archives
2002 archives
2001 archives
2000 archives

Asia press releases
3 June - North Korea
Pyongyang judges asked to be lenient with two American journalists
3 June - Afghanistan
US forces arrest a journalist in Khost
2 June - China
Blocking of Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Blogger deprives Chinese of Web 2.0
2 June - Sri Lanka
Press freedom activist badly beaten in Colombo, hospitalised
29 May - Sri Lanka
Journalists trying to cover fate of Tamils are threatened, obstructed