Authorities Detain Internet Reporter and Host of Corruption-monitoring Website

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(Chinese Human Rights Defenders, May 21, 2008) – Ren Shangyan (任尚燕), Assistant Director of the corruption-monitoring website, China Justice Advocacy Web (zhonghua shenzheng wang中华申正网), was detained on May 16 while investigating a case of alleged nepotism in Shuangyashan City, Heilongjiang Province. She has not been released.

Around 4 p.m. on May 16, Ren was taken away by a dozen police from Shuangyashan Public Security Bureau (PSB). She was investigating accusations by Chen Guosheng (陈国生), a disabled resident of the city, of nepotism against Wang Yijun (王义军), Vice-Chief of the Anti-Corruption Bureau under the Procuratorate of Lingdong District, Shuangyashan City.

Chen claims that since 2005, Wang’s brother has tried to force Chen from his home in a commercially-attractive area by using a number of unsavoury tactics, including pumping sewage into Chen’s water supply. Chen alleges that Wang has sheltered his brother from prosecution and colluded with other local officials to persecute him.

After China Justice Advocacy Web investigated and reported Chen’s case in March, the website was temporarily closed by internet police in Sichuan Province, where the website is based, reportedly due to pressure from Shuangyashan City government.

China Justice Advocacy Web has reported on government corruption and misconduct since July 2005. Throughout 2007, it was repeatedly blocked by the authorities after Ren and colleagues reported many cases of corruption in Shanghai.

CHRD believes that Ren is detained for her peaceful activities of reporting on official wrongdoing and corruption, and therefore, her right to freedom of expression has been infringed. The right to freedom of expression is guaranteed in Article 19 of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights and in Article 35 of the Chinese Constitution.

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