Special Reports


Falling Short: Appendix III: Journalists Imprisoned in China

To request a printed copy of this report, e-mail Development@cpj.org.


12. Appendix III: Journalists Imprisoned in China

As of May 1, 2008

Chen Renjie, Ziyou Bao
Lin Youping, Ziyou Bao
IMPRISONED: July 1983 

Twenty-five years after their imprisonment in the early days of China’s economic reform, Chen and Lin are the longest-serving journalists in CPJ’s worldwide census. The two men, along with Chen Biling, wrote and published a pamphlet titled Ziyou Bao (Freedom Report). They distributed 300 copies of the pamphlet in the southern Chinese city of Fuzhou, Fujian province, in September 1982.

The following July, they were arrested and accused of making contact with Taiwanese spy groups and publishing a counterrevolutionary pamphlet. According to official government records of the case, the men used “propaganda and incitement to encourage the overthrow of the people’s democratic dictatorship and the socialist system.”

In August 1983, Chen was sentenced to life in prison, and Lin was sentenced to death with reprieve. Chen Biling was sentenced to death and later executed. 

Fan Yingshang, Remen Huati
CHARGED: October 16, 1995

In 1994, Fan and Yang Jianguo printed more than 60,000 copies of the magazine Remen Huati (Popular Topics). The men had allegedly purchased fake printing authorizations from an editor of the Journal of European Research at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, according to official Chinese news sources. Printing authorizations are a prior restraint used to curtail independent publishing in China.

CPJ was unable to determine the date of Fan’s arrest, but on October 16, 1995, he was indicted on charges of profiteering. On January 31, 1996, the Chang’an District Court in Shijiazhuang City sentenced him to 13 years in prison, with three years’ subsequent deprivation of political rights, for publishing and distributing illegal “reactionary” publications. Yang escaped arrest and was not sentenced.

Fan’s appeal was rejected on April 11, 1996, according to the Chinese government’s response to a query by the San Francisco-based prisoners’ advocacy group Dui Hua Foundation.

Xu Zerong, freelance
IMPRISONED: June 24, 2000

Xu is serving a 13-year prison term on charges of “leaking state secrets” through his academic work on military history and of “economic crimes” related to unauthorized publishing on foreign policy issues. Some observers believe that his jailing may have been related to an article he wrote for the Hong Kong-based Yazhou Zhoukan (Asia Weekly) magazine revealing clandestine Chinese Communist Party support for a Malaysian insurgency in the 1950s and 1960s.

Xu, a permanent resident of Hong Kong, was arrested in Guangzhou and held incommunicado for 18 months until his trial. He was tried by Shenzhen Intermediate Court in December 2001, and his appeal to Guangzhou Higher People’s Court was rejected in 2002.

According to court documents, the “state secrets” charges against Xu stemmed from his use of historical documents for academic research. Xu, also known as David Tsui, was an associate research professor at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies at Zhongshan University in Guangzhou. In 1992, he photocopied four books published in the 1950s about China’s role in the Korean War, which he then sent to a colleague in South Korea. The verdict stated that the Security Committee of the People’s Liberation Army of Guangzhou later determined that the books had not been declassified 40 years after being labeled “top secret.” After his arrest, St. Antony’s College at Oxford University, where Xu earned his doctorate and wrote his dissertation on the Korean War, was active in researching his case and calling for his release.

Xu was also the co-founder of a Hong Kong-based academic journal, Zhongguo Shehui Kexue Jikan (China Social Sciences Quarterly). The “economic crimes” charges were related to the “illegal publication” of more than 60,000 copies of 25 books and periodicals, including several books about Chinese politics and Beijing’s relations with Taiwan.

He was arrested just days before an article appeared in the June 26, 2000, issue of Yazhou Zhoukan in which he accused the Chinese Communist Party of hypocrisy by condemning other countries for interfering in its internal affairs by criticizing its human rights record.

Xu began his sentence in Dongguan Prison, outside of Guangzhou, but was later transferred to Guangzhou Prison, where it was easier for his family to visit him. He has been spared from hard labor and has been allowed to read, research, and teach English in prison, according to the U.S.-based prisoner advocacy group Dui Hua Foundation. He has suffered from high blood pressure and diabetes.

In 2006, Xu’s family members were informed that he had received a nine-month reduction in his sentence, according to Dui Hua. Based on that, he would be scheduled for release in 2012.

Jin Haike, freelance
Xu Wei, Xiaofei Ribao
Yang Zili, Yangzi de Sixiang Jiayuan
Zhang Honghai, freelance
IMPRISONED: March 13, 2001

The four members of an informal discussion group called Xin Qingnian Xuehui (New Youth Study Group) were detained and accused of “subverting state authority.” Prosecutors cited online articles and essays on political and social reform as proof of their intent to overthrow the Chinese Communist Party leadership.

Yang, Xu, Jin, and Zhang were charged with subversion on April 20, 2001. More than two

years later, on May 29, 2003, the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court sentenced Xu and Jin to 10 years in prison each, while Yang and Zhang each received sentences of eight years. Each of the sentences was to be followed by two years’ deprivation of political rights.

The four young men were students and recent university graduates who gathered occasionally to discuss politics and reform with four others, including an informant for the Ministry of State Security. The most prominent in the group, Yang, posted his own thoughts and reports by the others on topics such as rural poverty and village elections, along with essays advocating democratic reform, on a popular Web site, Yangzi de Sixiang Jiayuan (Yangzi’s Garden of Ideas). Xu was a reporter at Xiaofei Ribao (Consumer’s Daily). Public security agents pressured the newspaper to fire him before his arrest, a friend, Wang Ying, reported online.

The court cited a handful of articles, including Jin’s “Be a New Citizen, Reform China” and Yang’s “Choose Liberalism,” in the 2003 verdict against them. Beijing Higher People’s Court rejected their appeal without hearing defense witnesses. Three of the witnesses who testified against the four men were fellow members of the group who later tried to retract their testimonies.

Yang, Xu, and Jin were imprisoned at Beijing’s No. 2 Prison. Yang’s wife, Lu Kun, who was also initially detained and questioned, was unable to visit him for four years after his imprisonment, she told reporters in 2005. Zhang, who initially suffered from ill health in detention, was jailed at Lishui Prison in Zhejiang province, where he made sweaters, his brother told CPJ.

Tao Haidong, freelance
IMPRISONED: July 9, 2002 

Tao, an Internet essayist and pro-democracy activist, was arrested in Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR), and charged with “incitement to subvert state power.” According to the Minzhu Luntan (Democracy Forum) Web site, which had published Tao’s recent writing, his articles focused on political and legal reform. In one essay, titled “Strategies for China’s Social Reforms,” Tao wrote that “the Chinese Communist Party and democracy activists throughout society should unite to push forward China’s freedom and democratic development or else stand condemned through the ages.”

Previously, in 1999, Tao was sentenced to three years of “re-education through labor” in Xi’an, Shaanxi province, according to the New York-based advocacy group Human Rights in China, because of his essays and his work on a book titled Xin Renlei Shexiang (Imaginings of a New Human Race). After his early release in 2001, Tao began writing articles and publishing them on various domestic and overseas Web sites.

In early January 2003, the Urumqi Intermediate Court sentenced Tao to seven years in prison. His appeal to the XUAR Higher Court later in 2003 was rejected. Now held in Changji, Tao is slated for release in July 2009.

Zhang Wei, Shishi Zixun and Redian Jiyao
IMPRISONED: July 19, 2002 

Zhang was arrested and charged with illegal publishing after producing and selling two underground newspapers in Chongqing, in central China. According to an account published on the Web site of the Chongqing Press and Publishing Administration, a provincial government body that governs all local publications, beginning in April 2001, Zhang edited two newspapers, Shishi Zixun (Current Events) and Redian Jiyao (Summary of the Main Points), which included articles and graphics he had downloaded from the Internet.

Two of Zhang’s business associates, Zuo Shangwen and Ou Yan, were also arrested on July 19, 2002, and indicted for their involvement with the publications. Zuo printed the publications in neighboring Sichuan province, while Ou managed the publications’ finances. At the time of their arrests, police confiscated 9,700 copies of Shishi Zixun.

The official account of their arrests stated that the two publications had “flooded” Chongqing’s publishing market. The government declared that “the political rumors, shocking ‘military reports,’ and other articles in these illegal publications misled the public, poisoned the youth, negatively influenced society, and sparked public indignation.” Zhang, Zuo, and Ou printed more than 1.5 million copies of the publications and sold them in Chongqing, Chengdu, and other cities.

On December 25, 2002, the Yuzhong District Court in Chongqing sentenced Zhang to six years in prison and fined him 100,000 yuan (US$12,000), the amount that police said he had earned in profits from the publications. Zuo was sentenced to five years and fined 50,000 yuan (US$6,000), while Ou was sentenced to two years in prison.

Abdulghani Memetemin
East Turkistan Information Center
IMPRISONED: July 26, 2002

Memetemin, a writer, teacher, and translator who had actively advocated for the Uighur ethnic group in the northwestern Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, was detained in Kashgar, a city in Xinjiang, on charges of “leaking state secrets.”

In June 2003, Kashgar Intermediate People’s Court sentenced him to nine years in prison, plus a three-year suspension of political rights. Radio Free Asia provided CPJ with court documents listing 18 specific counts against Memetemin, including translating state news articles into Chinese from Uighur; forwarding official speeches to the Germany-based East Turkistan Information Center (ETIC), a news outlet that advocates for an independent state for the Uighur ethnic group; and conducting original reporting for ETIC. The court also accused him of recruiting additional reporters for ETIC, which is banned in China.

Memetemin did not have legal representation at his trial.

Huang Jinqiu, Boxun News
IMPRISONED: September 13, 2003 

Huang, a columnist for the U.S.-based Web site Boxun News, was arrested in Jiangsu province. Huang’s family was not officially notified of his arrest for more than three months. On September 27, 2004, the Changzhou Intermediate People’s Court sentenced him to 12 years in prison on charges of “subversion of state authority,” plus four years’ deprivation of political rights. The sentence was unusually harsh and appeared linked to his intention to form an opposition party.

Huang worked as a writer and editor in his native Shandong province, as well as in Guangdong province, before leaving China in 2000 to study journalism at the Central Academy of Art in Malaysia. While he was overseas, Huang began writing political commentary for Boxun News under the pen name Qing Shuijun. He also wrote articles on arts and entertainment under the name Huang Jin. Huang’s writings reportedly caught the attention of the government in 2001. Huang told a friend that authorities had contacted his family to warn them about his writing, according to Boxun News.

In January 2003, Huang wrote in his online column that he intended to form a new opposition party, the China Patriot Democracy Party. When he returned to China in August 2003, he eluded public security agents just long enough to visit his family in Shandong province. In the last article he posted on Boxun News, titled “Me and My Public Security Friends,” Huang described being followed and harassed by security agents.

Huang’s appeal was rejected in December 2004.

Huang’s lawyer told CPJ in early 2005 that the journalist had been mistreated in prison and was in poor health. In March 2008, his family told CPJ that his health conditions and treatment had improved. Huang was serving his sentence in Pukou Prison, near Nanjing.

Kong Youping, freelance
IMPRISONED: December 13, 2003 

Kong, an essayist and poet, was arrested in Anshan, Liaoning province. A former trade union official, he had written articles online that supported democratic reforms, appealed for the release of then-imprisoned Internet writer Liu Di, and called for a reversal of the government’s “counterrevolutionary” ruling on the pro-democracy demonstrations of 1989.

Kong’s essays included an appeal to democracy activists in China that stated, “In order to work well for democracy, we need a well-organized, strong, powerful, and effective organization. Otherwise, a mainland democracy movement will accomplish nothing.” Several of his articles and poems were posted on the Minzhu Luntan (Democracy Forum) Web site.

In 1998, Kong served time in prison after he became a member of the Liaoning province branch of the China Democracy Party (CDP), an opposition party. In 2004, he was tried on subversion charges along with codefendant Ning Xianhua, who was accused of being the vice chairman of the CDP branch in Liaoning, according to the U.S.-based advocacy organization Human Rights in China and court documents obtained by the San Francisco-based Dui Hua Foundation. On September 16, 2004, the Shenyang Intermediate People’s Court sentenced Kong to 15 years in prison, plus four years’ deprivation of political rights.

Ning received a 12-year sentence.

Kong suffered from hypertension and was imprisoned in the city of Lingyuan far from his family, making visits difficult. In a letter written to his family from prison, Kong said that he had received a sentence reduction to 10 years in his appeal, but that information could not be confirmed.

Shi Tao, freelance
IMPRISONED: November 24, 2004 

Shi, the former editorial director at the Changsha-based newspaper Dangdai Shang Bao, was detained near his home in Taiyuan, Shanxi province.

He was formally arrested and charged with “providing state secrets to foreigners” by sending an e-mail on his Yahoo account to the U.S.-based editor of the Web site Minzhu Luntan (Democracy Forum). In the anonymous e-mail sent several months before his arrest, Shi transcribed his notes from local propaganda department instructions to his newspaper, which included directives on coverage of the Falun Gong and the upcoming 15th anniversary of the military crackdown on demonstrators at Tiananmen Square. The official Xinhua News Agency reported that the National Administration for the Protection of State Secrets later certified the contents of the e-mail as classified.

On April 27, 2005, the Changsha Intermediate People’s Court found Shi guilty and sentenced him to a 10-year prison term. In June of that year, Hunan Province High People’s Court rejected his appeal without granting a hearing.

Court documents in the case revealed that Yahoo had supplied information to Chinese authorities that helped them identify Shi as the sender of the e-mail. Yahoo’s participation in the identification of Shi and other jailed Internet writers and dissidents in China raised questions about the role that international Internet companies are playing in the repression of online speech in China and elsewhere.

In November 2005, CPJ honored Shi in absentia with its annual International Press Freedom Award for his courage in defending the ideals of free expression. During a visit to CPJ’s offices in New York in June 2007, Shi’s mother, Gao Qinsheng, highlighted the 2008 Beijing Olympics as an opportunity for the international community to renew calls for her son’s release. In November of that year, members of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee rebuked Yahoo executives for their role in the case and for wrongly testifying in earlier hearings that the company did not know the Chinese government’s intentions when it sought Shi’s account information.

Zheng Yichun, freelance
IMPRISONED: December 3, 2004

Zheng, a former professor, was a regular contributor to overseas online news sites, including the U.S.-based Epoch Times, which is affiliated with the banned religious movement Falun Gong. Zheng wrote a series of editorials that directly criticized the Communist Party and its control of the media.

Because of police warnings, Zheng’s family remained silent about his detention in Yingkou, Liaoning province, until state media reported that he had been arrested on suspicion of inciting subversion. Zheng was initially tried by the Yingkou Intermediate People’s Court on April 26, 2005. No verdict was announced, and on July 21 he was tried again on the same charges. As in the April 26 trial, proceedings lasted just three hours. Though officially “open” to the public, the courtroom was closed to all observers except close family members and government officials. Zheng’s supporters and a journalist were prevented from entering, according to a local source.

Prosecutors cited dozens of articles written by the journalist, and listed the titles of several essays in which he called for political reform, increased capitalism in China, and an end to the practice of imprisoning writers. On September 20, the court sentenced Zheng to seven years in prison, to be followed by three years’ deprivation of political rights.

Sources familiar with the case believe that Zheng’s harsh sentence may be linked to Chinese leaders’ objections to the Epoch Times series “Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party,” which called the Chinese Communist Party an “evil cult” with a “history of killings” and predicted its demise.

Zheng is diabetic, and his health suffered a decline after his imprisonment. After his first appeal was rejected, he intended to pursue an appeal in a higher court, but his defense lawyer, Gao Zhisheng, was himself imprisoned in August 2006. Zheng’s family has been unable to find another lawyer willing to take the case.

Zhang Lin, freelance
IMPRISONED: January 29, 2005 

Zhang, a freelance writer and political essayist who made a living by writing for banned overseas Web sites, was convicted of “inciting subversion of state power” and misrepresenting national authorities in his articles and in a radio interview.

Zhang, who spent years in jail in the 1990s for his pro-democracy activism and for organizing a labor union, was detained at a train station near his home in Bengbu, in central China’s Anhui province. Police apprehended him as he was returning from Beijing, where he had traveled to mourn the death of ousted Communist Party leader Zhao Ziyang. He was initially accused of “disturbing public order,” but police formally arrested him on charges of inciting subversion after confiscating the computer he was using.

The Bengbu Intermediate People’s Court tried him on June 21, 2005, in proceedings that lasted five hours, his lawyer, Mo Shaoping, told CPJ. The defense argued that the six articles and one interview cited by the prosecution were protected free expression.
Zhang’s wife told reporters that his imprisonment was connected to essays he wrote about protests by unemployed workers and official scandals. On July 28, 2005, the court convicted Zhang and sentenced him to five years in prison.

For 28 days in September 2005, Zhang waged a hunger strike to protest his unjust sentence and the harsh conditions at Bengbu No. 1 Detention Center. Officials there subjected him to long hours of forced labor making Christmas ornaments and refused to allow him to read newspapers or other material, according to his lawyer. During his hunger strike, he was fed through his nose. He was hospitalized briefly before returning to the detention center.

Zhang’s appeals were rejected without a hearing, and he was moved to a prison in Anhui province. Zhang’s wife told CPJ that his health has suffered during his imprisonment. They have a young daughter.

Yang Tongyan (Yang Tianshui), freelance
IMPRISONED: December 23, 2005

Yang, commonly known by his pen name Yang Tianshui, was detained along with a friend in Nanjing, eastern China. He was tried on charges of “subverting state authority,” and on May 17, 2006, the Zhenjiang Intermediate People’s Court sentenced him to 12 years in prison.

Yang was a well-known writer and a member of the Independent Chinese PEN Center. He was a frequent contributor to U.S.-based Web sites banned in China, including Boxun News and Epoch Times. He often wrote critically about the ruling Communist Party, and he advocated the release of Internet writers Zheng Yichun and Zhang Lin.

According to the verdict in Yang’s case, which was translated into English by the San Francisco-based Dui Hua Foundation, the harsh sentence against him was related to a fictitious online election, established by overseas Chinese citizens, for a “democratic Chinese transitional government.” Yang’s colleagues say that without his prior knowledge, he was elected “secretariat” of the fictional government. Yang later wrote an article in Epoch Times in support of the model.

Prosecutors also accused Yang of transferring money from overseas to Wang Wenjiang, who had been convicted of endangering state security. Yang’s defense lawyer argued that this money was humanitarian assistance to the family of a jailed dissident and should not have constituted a criminal act.

Believing that the proceedings were fundamentally unjust, Yang did not appeal. Yang had already spent 10 years in prison for his opposition to the military crackdown on demonstrators at Tiananmen Square in 1989.

In June, Shandong provincial authorities refused to renew the law license of Yang’s lawyer, press freedom advocate Li Jianqiang, who also represented imprisoned journalists Zhang Jianhong and Guo Qizhen.

Guo Qizhen, freelance
IMPRISONED: May 12, 2006

Guo was detained as he prepared to join a rolling hunger strike by the lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who was later jailed. Guo was formally arrested on charges related to his prolific writing for U.S.-based Chinese-language Web sites Minzhu Luntan (Democracy Forum) and Epoch Times.

The Cangzhou Intermediate People’s Court tried Guo on charges of “inciting subversion of state authority” on September 12, 2006. He was convicted and sentenced to four years in prison, plus an additional three years’ deprivation of political rights.

In the case presented to the prosecutor on June 16, 2006, the Cangzhou Public Security Bureau cited several online essays as proof of Guo’s crimes, including one titled “Letting some of the people first get rich while others cannot make a living,” in which he accused the Communist Party government of using its policies to support an “autocratic” and “despotic” regime. Guo was critical of corruption and widespread poverty in the country.

In his defense, Guo argued that his criticism of the Communist Party was protected by the Chinese constitution. In March 2007, an appeals court upheld Guo’s conviction.
Three months later, Shandong provincial authorities refused to renew the law license of Guo’s lawyer, press freedom advocate Li Jianqiang, who also represented imprisoned journalists Zhang Jianhong and Yang Tongyan.

Guo is married and has a teenage son. Guo’s wife, Zhao Changqing, told CPJ in April 2008 that she had been unable to visit her husband due to the high cost of traveling to the prison. She confirmed that he suffered beatings that led to a permanent leg injury. Guo also complained of high blood pressure and chest pains.

Zhang Jianhong, freelance
IMPRISONED: September 6, 2006

The founder and editor of the popular news and literary Web site Aiqinhai (Aegean Sea) was taken from his home in Ningbo, in eastern China’s Zhejiang province. In October 2006, he was formally arrested on charges of “inciting subversion.” He was sentenced to six years in prison by the Ningbo Intermediate People’s Court in March 2007, followed by one year’s deprivation of political rights.

Authorities did not clarify their allegations against Zhang, but supporters believed they were linked to online articles critical of government actions. An editorial he wrote two days before his detention called attention to international organizations’ criticism of the government’s human rights record, and in particular, the poor treatment of journalists and their sources two years before the start of the Olympics. Zhang referred to the situation as “Olympicgate.”

Zhang was an author, screenwriter, and reporter who served a year and a half of “re-education through labor” in 1989 on counterrevolutionary charges for his writing in support of protesters. He was dismissed from a position in the local writers association and began working as a freelance writer.

His Web site Aiqinhai was closed in March 2006 for unauthorized posting of international and domestic news. He had also been a contributor to several U.S.-based Chinese-language Web sites, including Boxun News, the pro-democracy forum Minzhu Luntan, and Epoch Times.

In September 2007, Shandong provincial authorities refused to renew the law license of Zhang’s lawyer, press freedom advocate Li Jianqiang, who also represented imprisoned journalists Guo Qizhen and Yang Tongyan.

Zhang’s wife, Dong Min, was permitted to see her husband in March 2008, shortly after he was transferred the medical ward of a Hangzhou prison. She told CPJ that Zhang suffers from a debilitating form of muscular dystrophy that depletes his energy. Zhang and Dong continue to appeal for his release on medical grounds.

Sun Lin, Boxun News
IMPRISONED: May 30, 2007

Nanjing-based reporter Sun was arrested along with his wife, He Fang, on May 30, according to the U.S.-based Web site Boxun News. Sun had previously documented harassment by authorities as a result of his audio, video, and print reports for the banned Chinese-language news site.

Sun was accused in the arrest warrant of possessing an illegal weapon, and a police statement issued on June 1 said he was the leader of a criminal gang. Lawyers met with Sun and He in June but the couple were later denied visits by counsel or family members, according to a Boxun report. A trial was postponed twice for lack of evidence.

The couple’s 12-year-old daughter now lives with He’s parents, according to Boxun Editor Watson Meng.

Ma Shiping, freelance
IMPRISONED: June 16, 2007
Qi Chonghuai, freelance
IMPRISONED: June 25, 2007

Qi and Ma criticized a local official in Shandong province in an article published June 8, 2007, on the Web site of the U.S.-based Epoch Times, according to Qi’s lawyer, Li Xiongbing. On June 14, the two posted photographs on Xinhua’s anti-corruption Web forum showing a luxurious government building in the city of Tengzhou.

Police in Tengzhou detained Ma on June 16 on charges of carrying a false press card. Qi, a journalist of 13 years, was arrested in his home in Jinan, the provincial capital, and charged with fraud and extortion, Li said. Qi was convicted and sentenced to four years in prison on May 13, 2008.

Qi was accused of taking money from local officials while reporting several stories, a charge he denied. The people from whom Qi was accused of extorting money were local officials threatened by his reporting, Li said. Qi told his lawyer and his wife, Jiao Xia, that police beat him during questioning on August 13, 2007, and again during a break in his trial.

Ma, a freelance photographer, had local media affiliations. No verdict or sentence was publicly reported in his case. Ma’s lawyer did not return phone calls.

Zi Beijia, Beijing TV
IMPRISONED: July 18, 2007

Police arrested Zi after he allegedly fabricated a July 8 story about the sale of steamed buns stuffed with cardboard. Ten days after the report aired, Beijing TV apologized for the story and said that it was an invention. The Xinhua News Agency said Zi confessed, although a number of local journalists told CPJ that they believed the report to be factual and Zi to be innocent.

On August 12, the Beijing No. 2 Intermediate Court sentenced Zi to a year in prison for the unusual crime of “infringing on the reputation of a commodity.” Zi’s arrest came amid widespread international reports about food and product safety defects in China. After the arrest, CPJ research found that domestic news reports about consumer safety were noticeably tamer.

Lü Gengsong, freelance
IMPRISONED: August 24, 2007

The Hangzhou Public Security Bureau charged Lü with “inciting subversion of state power,” according to human rights groups and news reports. Officials also searched his home and confiscated his computer hard drive and files.

The detention was connected to Lü’s articles on corruption, land expropriation, organized crime, and human rights abuses, which were published on overseas Web sites. The day before his arrest, Lü reported on the trial and two-year sentence of housing rights activist Yang Yunbiao. Lü, a member of the banned China Democracy Party, was the author of the 2000 book, Corruption in the Communist Party of China, which was published in Hong Kong.

Lü was found guilty of subversion and sentenced to four years in prison on February 5, 2008. Lü’s wife told CPJ in April 2008 that she had not been allowed to see her husband on her numerous visits to Xihu Prison in Hangzhou.

Hu Jia, freelance
IMPRISONED: December 27, 2007 

Hu, 34, was charged with “incitement to subvert state power” based on six online commentaries and two interviews with foreign media in which he criticized the Communist Party. On April 3, 2008, he was sentenced to three and a half years in prison.

A prominent human rights activist, Hu had advocated for AIDS patients, defended the rights of farmers, and promoted environmental protection. His writings, which appeared on his blog, criticized the Communist Party’s human rights record, called for democratic reform, and condemned government corruption. Hu’s wife, human rights activist Zeng Jinyan, and infant daughter have been confined to their home under police surveillance, according to news reports.

Jamyang Kyi, Qinghai TV
IMPRISONED: April 1, 2008 

An editor and news producer for state-run Qinghai TV for more than 20 years, Kyi was detained in Xining, the capital of western Qinghai province, according to The Associated Press. Radio Free Asia quoted an unidentified source in Beijing as saying that police in Qinghai’s capital, Xining, had formally arrested the reporter. No charges had been publicly disclosed as of May 1, 2008.

In addition to her journalism, Kyi is a well-known singer who combines elements of popular and traditional Tibetan culture. An advocate for women’s rights, she has written several articles to draw attention to problems facing women in Tibet.

In 2006, Kyi was a visiting scholar at Columbia University in New York, with the aim of improving the quality of news broadcasting in Tibet. She studied journalism and gave lectures on Tibetan-language reporting in Qinghai during her two months in the United States. She also performed music alongside exiled Tibetan performers. Her experiences were recorded on a Tibetan-language blog that she established after her return home.

Kyi’s arrest followed violence in the Tibet Autonomous Region and Tibetan areas of western provinces that developed from March protests against Chinese rule. Unrest continued sporadically in April despite the deployment of a heavy security presence in Lhasa and other areas. Access to the region was restricted for international journalists. Chinese officials said that tens of Tibetans had surrendered or been detained for taking part in the unrest; exiled Tibetan groups said the arrests numbered several hundred.

Kyi had not been linked to the protests and was not known to have had past trouble with the authorities, according to AP.

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June 4, 2008 6:57 PM ET |

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