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China 9 November 2006

Cyber-dissident convicted on Yahoo! information is freed after four years

Cyber-dissident and pro-democracy activist Jiang Lijun was freed on 5 November on completing a four-year sentence. Convicted of “inciting the subversion of state authorities” following his arrest on 7 November 2002, he was viewed by the police as the head of a small group of cyber-dissidents and had been arrested several times before for posting political articles online.

Reporters Without Borders had denounced the US company Yahoo!’s involvement in his arrest and prosecution. It was one of three cases - together with those of Shi Tao and Li Zhi - in which Yahoo!’s collaboration with the Chinese police and judicial authorities has been proved.

Following his release Jiang told Radio Free Asia his prison conditions were “acceptable” and that he was in good health.

28.11.03 A cyberdissident jailed for four years

Chinese cyberdissident Jiang Lijun was jailed for four years by a Beijing court on 28 November. His lawyer, Mo Shaoping, said that Jiang had been very composed during sentencing. He said he did not yet know whether his client, who had pleaded not guilty, would want to appeal.

His wife, Yan Lina, told Agence France-Presse that she considered the sentence unfair. She was admitted to the court for the six-minute reading of the verdict. Jiang is being held in Qincheng jail near Beijing.

Call for release of five cyber-dissidents

Reporters Without Borders today urged the Chinese authorities to release five jailed cyber-dissidents, four of whom are already serving prison sentences of between eight and 10 years for alleged subversion.

Appeals of the four - Yang Zili, Xu Wei, Jin Haike and Zang Honghai - were heard by a Beijing court on 2 November. The trial of pro-democracy activist Jiang Lijun, who also posted material online, took place on 4 November. Judgement in all five cases was reserved.

Calling on public security minister Zhou Yongkang to release them, Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard said the press freedom organisation was pleased the courts had finally decided to examine the police evidence against them and also that the state prosecutor had asked for more information about jailed cyber-dissident Liu Di.

There was "no serious evidence" against Yang Zili, Xu Wei, Jin Haike, Zang Honghai and Jiang Lijun, Ménard said. "We hope the court will acknowledge that their arrest was unjustified and will quash their convictions."

Yang, founder of the website (better known as "Yang Chi’s Garden of Ideas"), had called in online articles for political democratisation, had criticised repression of the Falungong spiritual movement and deplored the problems faced by the peasantry. The other three whose appeals were heard were also convicted of posting pro-democracy material on the website, as well as being members of a discussion group called The New Youth Society. The four have been in prison since March 2001.

Jiang Lijun was tried for "inciting subversion" after posting political material online and faces possible life imprisonment. The prosecution claimed he wanted to introduce democracy by violent means, which he denies. He was arrested on 7 November 2002 after writing an open letter to the 16th Congress of the ruling Chinese Communist Party calling for democratic reforms. He is seen as the leader of a small group of cyber-dissidents and is being held at Qincheng prison (near Beijing), where the most important political prisoners are thought to be.

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