Writer/Activist Lu Gengsong Sentenced to Four Years in Prison

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Writer/Activist Lu Gengsong Sentenced to Four Years in Prison
CHRD protests the use of “Inciting Subversion of State Power” to Prosecute Free Speech

(Chinese Human Rights Defenders, February 5, 2008)- Lu Gengsong (吕耿松), a Hangzhou-based freelance writer and human rights defender detained since August 24, 2007, was sentenced to four years in prison and one year of political rights deprivation for “inciting subversion of state power” by the Hangzhou City Intermediate People’s Court on February 5.
Lu’s wife, daughter and two friends were present when the verdict was read. The court session lasted 15 minutes. Hangzhou Public Security Bureau (PSB) barred other supporters and friends from attending the verdict by either putting them under house arrest or, for those who arrived at the Court, preventing them from entering the courtroom. Lu’s trial on January 22 was also a closed trial.

Lu’s family has decided to appeal. Lu is currently incarcerated at the Xihu (West Lake) Detention Center in Hangzhou City.

A resident of Hangzhou city, Zhejiang province, Mr. Lu, 51, was formerly a teacher at the Zhejiang Higher Professional School of Public Security but was expelled in 1993 because of his participation in pro-democracy activities. He is the author of several books on political reform, such as A History of CCP Corrupt Officials (HK, Culture and Arts Studio, 2000). He frequently posted news articles on the Internet reporting official corruption and violations in forced evictions of urban residents. A few days before his own detention, he reported on the confinement in a psychiatric hospital of fellow activist He Weihua, and the day before his detention, he attended the criminal trial of housing rights activist, Yang Yunbiao. Lu was detained on August 24, 2007, and formally arrested on September 29, 2007, on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power.”

CHRD considers Lu’s sentence yet another instance of the criminalization of PRC citizens legitimately exercising their constitutional right to freedom of expression. The right to freedom of expression is also guaranteed in Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which China has signed (though not ratified).

The use of the crime of “inciting subversion of state power”—as stipulated in Article 105(2) of the PRC Criminal Law—to persecute those exercising their right to freedom of expression is unconstitutional and a violation of basic human rights. CHRD recently released a report documenting and analyzing cases in which the law has been used to persecute free speech. CHRD calls on the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPCSC) to reinterpret Article 105(2) in such a way that the law clearly and strictly defines key terms and articulates the necessary restrictions on its use, so as to prevent its use to persecute individuals for exercising their right to freedom of expression.

For more information, please see:
Inciting Subversion of State Power”: A Legal Tool for Prosecuting Free Speech in China
Lu Gengsong, writer and activist, under formal arrest

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