Cyber Activist Sentenced to 3-Yearsfor Expressing Support to Tibetan Protesters

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Cyber Activist Sentenced to 3-Yearsfor Expressing Support to Tibetan Protesters

(Chinese Human Rights Defenders, November 21, 2008) – Today, Chen Daojun (陈道军), a cyber activist and freelance writer based in the Southwestern province Sichuan, was convicted of “inciting subversion of state power” and sentenced to three years of imprisonment and deprivation of political rights for three years for posting articles on the Internet to express views supporting the March 2008 Tibetan protesters.

Chen‘s verdict was announced at 11 a.m. this morning by Chendu Intermediate People’s Court in Sichuan. Chen‘s family and his lawyer, Zhu Jiuhu (朱久虎), were present at the hearing. Chen is dissatisfied with the verdict but it is considering whether he is going to appeal.

On November 5, Chen was tried for “inciting succession” by the same court. It is unclear why the court dropped the charge of “inciting succession” and convicted Chen of “inciting subversion”. The court clearly rejected the lawyer’s “not guilty” defense on the basis that Mr. Chen has the right to free expression of his political views.

Recommendations

CHRD calls on Chen‘s immediate and unconditional release.

CHRD believes that Chen has been imprisoned solely for the peaceful activities of expressing his opinions. The authorities have abused Chen‘s rights to freedom of expression guaranteed in Articles 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which China has signed (but not yet ratified). This right is also enshrined in Article 35 of the Chinese Constitution.

Background

Chen, 40, is a cyber activist and freelance writer from Jintang Township, Chengdu City, Sichuan Province.

Chen was apprehended on May 9 and officially detained on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power” on May 10. At some point during Chen‘s detention, the charge “inciting subversion” was dropped and replaced by “inciting succession”. The reason for this change was not known. On June 13, Chen was formally arrested by Chengdu City Procuratorate for “inciting succession”. However, the charge of “inciting succession” was dropped and Chen was convicted of “inciting subversion of state power” today.

Following the March 14, 2008 riots/demonstrations in the Tibetan Autonomous Region, Chen published online several articles that supported the Tibetans who protested against the Chinese government. Chengdu City Procuratorate prosecuted Chen on the basis of one of the articles, “the Government Forces the People to Rebel—a Tribute to the Tibetans who Staged a Heroic Struggle”, in addition to two others he authored —”What to Do after the 17th Party Congress” and “The Background of Those People Who are Against Westernization”. The Procuratorate alleged that certain words and sentences in these articles “incited succession”.

For more information, please see:

Detained Sichuan Activists Denied Access to Legal Counsel (June 25, 2008)

Cyber Activists Detained for “Inciting” Anti-Pollution March in Chengdu (May 12, 2008)

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