Pro-democracy Activist Detained for “Inciting Subversion”Government must end criminalization of free speech

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Pro-democracy Activist Detained for “Inciting Subversion”

Government must end criminalization of free speech

(Hangzhou, August 25, 2007) – Police have notified the family of Hangzhou-based activist Lu Gengsong of his detention on suspicion of “inciting subversion of the state power” and “illegal possession of state secrets” on 24 August 2007. Mr. Lu, 51, is an active member of China’s banned Democracy Party and the author of several books on political reform. He frequently posted articles criticizing the government and reports of human rights violations online. He is now being held at the Detention Center of the Hangzhou Public Security Bureau’s branch office in the West Lake district.

Lu’s wife Wang Xue’e said that she had received two notices from the local PSB Public Security [Police] Bureau on August 24: one about taking Mr. Lu to the police station for questioning, and the other, later that same day, about his criminal detention. The second notice cited Article 61 of the PRC Criminal Procedural Law as legal basis for the detention. Police searched Lu’s house for eight hours, taking away computers and personal files.

Ms. Wang was also taken in to the police station for questioning as a “criminal suspect” for 3 hours. She said police had told her that the main reason for her husband’s detention had been his articles “attacking the Communist Party,” which meant he committed the crime of “inciting subversion of the state.”

Chinese Human Rights Defenders considers the detention of Lu yet another instance of the criminalization of PRC citizens merely for the legitimate exercise of their constitutionally protected human right to freedom of expression. CHRD demand the immediate release of Lu Gengsong and other imprisoned writers and cyber-activists charged with subversion crimes. The legal provisions in the PRC Criminal Procedural Law (Article 61) and PRC Criminal Law (Article 105) justifying this pattern of persecution for speech are unconstitutional and violate basic human rights.

Mr. Lu’s family is currently looking for a lawyer to represent him. They may have a chance to visit Mr Lu at the detention center on August 27. Meanwhile, a dozen of plain-clothes police are watching the family outside their residence.

About 180 activists, intellectuals, and writers have signed a petition to demand the release of Mr. Lu and other recently detained or convicted activists, asking leaders of the country to honor their professed commitment to the PRC Constitution’s provisions on human rights, to democratic reform and to the rule of law.

Lu Gengsong, resident of Hangzhou city, Zhejiang province, graduated from Hangzhou University (now Zhejiang University) with a BA in history in 1983. Mr. Lu formerly taught in the Zhejiang Higher Professional School of Public Security but was expelled in 1993 because of his participation in pro-democracy activities. He is now a freelance writer and he authored the book A History of CCP Corrupt Officials (HK, Culture and Arts Studio, 2000) and many political commentaries. He frequently posted news articles reporting official abuses and rights violations on the internet. A few days before his own detention, he reported on the confinement in a psychiatric hospital of fellow activist He Weihua for his articles on the social consequences of price inflation in the meat market. Mr. Lu had also attended the criminal trial of housing rights activist Yang Yunbiao on August 23, the day before he was detained.


August 25, 2007

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