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China 11 May 2004

Reporters Without Borders concerned about Wang Jinbo’s health

Reporters Without Borders has expressed its deep anxiety about the deteriorating health of cyberdissident Wang Jinbo, aged 32. His family says other inmates, apparently incited to do so by the warders, regularly beat him. "He seems very weak, is suffering from a bad cough and complains of a constant high temperature," his father said after visiting him on 15 April 2004.

Wang has several times been on hunger strikes to protest against his prison conditions. He has also never stopped proclaiming his innocence since his arrest on 9 May 2001. He has written numerous letters condemning the ill-treatment he has been suffering. One of his friends and a fellow activist recalled that before his trial police chained Wang’s feet to the floor for 10 days as a "punishment".

On the 14th of January,2002, we learned that Wang Jinbo lodged an appeal against the 4 -year prison sentence that he was given last year on the 13th of December.

Furthermore, the dissident also began a hunger strike on the 9th of January in order to protest against the fact that he has been denied the right to family visits.

According to the mother of the cyberdissident, the police will continue to refuse visits from members of the family as long as "the case is not closed" .

In a letter sent to Fusen Zhang, China’s Minister of Justice, Reporters Sans Frontières (Reporters Without Borders) has protested the four-year jail sentence handed down to Wang Jinbo, a cyberdissident and member of the (banned) Chinese Democratic Party, for the circulation of "subversive" information on the Internet. RSF has asked the Minister for his immediate liberation, as well as that of 18 other cyberdissidents presently held in China. "This new prison sentence only confirms the degree to which the Chinese government is still an enemy of the Internet and free speech," states Robert Ménard, RSF’s secretary general. RSF has also asked the Minister for news of cyberdissident Huang Qi, whose verdict has been awaited since February 23rd, 2001.

According to information gathered by RSF, Wang Jinbo was found guilty of "subversion" on December 13th, 2001 by the intermediary tribunal of Linyi (in the eastern province of Shandong) and sentenced to four years in prison for having used e-mail to send articles criticising the authorities’ attitude towards the democracy movement of 1989. The trial took place in November, but the sentence was not then handed down. According to a sitting judge, the dissident intends to appeal. Wang Jinbo, 29, was arrested on May 9th, 2001 by the Junan police (the province of Shandong) for having, among other things, demanded the revision of the official verdict brought against the 1989 movement and called for the freedom of political prisoners. As a member of the Chinese Democratic Party, he has already been jailed on several occasions for his political activities. He was questioned by police on February 22nd, 2001 after co-signing a letter addressed to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) condemning the repression of the democrats as counter to the Olympic spirit. Wang Jinbo has conducted several hunger strikes in prison, and his state of health is said to have badly deteriorated since his latest incarceration.

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