Last Updated: Monday, 29 August 2016, 16:06 GMT

Annual Prison Census 2013 - China

Publisher Committee to Protect Journalists
Publication Date 18 December 2013
Cite as Committee to Protect Journalists, Annual Prison Census 2013 - China, 18 December 2013, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/52b83be85.html [accessed 29 August 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Journalists in prison as of December 1, 2013

China: 32

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 online articles 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) website.

In 1998, Kong served time in prison after he became a member of the Liaoning province branch of the opposition China Democracy Party. In 2004, he was tried on subversion charges along with co-defendant Ning Xianhua, who was accused of being the vice chairman of the party's branch in Liaoning, according to the U.S.-based advocacy organization Human Rights in China and court documents obtained by the U.S.-based Dui Hua Foundation. Later that year, the Shenyang Intermediate People's Court sentenced Kong to 15 years in prison, plus four years' deprivation of political rights. His sentence was reduced to 10 years on appeal, according to the Independent Chinese PEN Center. He is expected to be released in the fall of 2014.

Kong suffered from hypertension and was imprisoned in the city of Lingyuan, far from his family. The Independent Chinese PEN Center reported that his eyesight was deteriorating. Ning, who received a 12-year sentence, was released ahead of schedule on December 15, 2010, according to Radio Free Asia.

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

Yang, commonly known by his penname 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 member of the Independent Chinese PEN Center. He was a frequent contributor to U.S.-based websites banned in China, including Boxun News and Epoch Times. He often wrote critically about the ruling Communist Party and advocated for the release of jailed Internet writers.

According to the verdict in Yang's case, which was translated into English by the U.S.-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." His colleagues said that he had been elected to the leadership of the fictional government without his prior knowledge. He later wrote an article in Epoch Times in support of the model.

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

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

In June 2008, Shandong provincial authorities refused to renew the law license of Yang's lawyer, press freedom advocate Li Jianqiang. In 2008, the PEN American Center announced that Yang had received the PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award.

Relatives who visited Yang in prison in August 2012 said he was receiving poor treatment for a number of medical conditions including tuberculosis, arthritis, and diabetes, according to international news reports.

He is being held in Dantu District Detention Centre in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu Province, according to the PEN American Center.

Qi Chonghuai, freelance
Imprisoned: June 25, 2007

Police in Tengzhou arrested Qi, a journalist of 13 years, in his home in Jinan, the provincial capital, and charged him with fraud and extortion. He was convicted and sentenced to four years in prison on May 13, 2008. The arrest occurred about a week after police detained Qi's colleague, Ma Shiping, a freelance photographer, on charges of carrying a false press card.

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

Qi was accused of taking money from local officials while reporting several stories, a charge he denied. The people from whom he 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.

Qi was scheduled for release in 2011, but in May that year, local authorities told him that the court had received new evidence against him. On June 9, 2011, less than three weeks before the end of his term, a Shandong provincial court sentenced him to another eight years in jail, according to the New York-based advocacy group Human Rights in China and Radio Free Asia.

Ma was also sentenced in late 2007 to one and a half years in prison. He was released in 2009, according to Jiao.

Human Rights in China, citing an online article by defense lawyer Li Xiaoyuan, said the court tried Qi on a new count of stealing advertising revenue from China Security Produce News, a former employer. The journalist's supporters speculated that the new charge came in reprisal for Qi's statements to his jailers that he would continue reporting after his release, according to The New York Times.

Qi was being held in Tengzhou Prison, a four-hour trip from his family's home, which limited visits. Jiao told international journalists in 2012 that her husband had offered her a divorce, but that she declined.

Dhondup Wangchen, Filming for Tibet
Imprisoned: March 26, 2008

Police in Tongde, Qinghai province, arrested Wangchen, a Tibetan documentary filmmaker, shortly after he sent footage filmed in Tibet to his colleagues, according to the production company Filming for Tibet. A 25-minute film titled "Jigdrel" (Leaving Fear Behind) was produced from the tapes.

Officials in Xining, Qinghai province, charged the filmmaker with inciting separatism and replaced the Tibetan's own lawyer with a government appointee in July 2009, according to international reports. On December 28, 2009, the Xining Intermediate People's Court in Qinghai sentenced Wangchen to six years' imprisonment on subversion charges, according to a statement issued by his family.

Filming for Tibet was founded in Switzerland by Gyaljong Tsetrin, a relative of Wangchen who left Tibet in 2002 but maintained contact with people there. Tsetrin told CPJ that he had spoken to Wangchen on March 25, 2008, but lost contact after that. He learned of the detention only later, after speaking by telephone with relatives.

Filming for the documentary was completed shortly before peaceful protests against Chinese rule of Tibet deteriorated into riots in Lhasa and in other Tibetan areas of China in March 2008. The filmmakers had gone to Tibet to ask ordinary people about their lives under Chinese rule in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics.

The arrest was first publicized when the documentary was screened before a small group of international reporters in a hotel room in Beijing on August 6, 2008. A second screening was interrupted by hotel management, according to Reuters.

Wangchen was born in Qinghai but moved to Lhasa as a young man, according to his published biography. He had relocated with his wife, Lhamo Tso, and four children to Dharamsala, India, before returning to Tibet to begin filming, according to a report published in October 2008 by the South China Morning Post.

In March 2008, Wangchen's assistant, Jigme Gyatso, was arrested, then released on October 15, 2008, Filming for Tibet said. Gyatso described having been brutally beaten by interrogators during his seven months in detention, according to Filming for Tibet. The Dharamsala-based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy reported that Gyatso was re-arrested in March 2009 and released the next month. The film company reported in October 2012 that Gyatso had been missing since September 20, 2012, and that it feared he had been detained again.

Lhamo Tso told Radio Netherlands Worldwide in 2011 that her husband was working extremely long hours in prison and had contracted hepatitis B.

In October 2013, the film company reported that Wangchen continued to suffer from hepatitis B and had not received the medical treatment he needed. They said it had been difficult to obtain reliable information about his condition and that it was believed he had been transferred to Qinghai Provincial Women's Prison.

Wangchen was scheduled to be released in June 2014. CPJ honored Wangchen with an International Press Freedom Award in 2012.

Liu Xiaobo, freelance
Imprisoned: December 8, 2008

Liu, a longtime advocate for political reform and the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, was imprisoned for "inciting subversion" through his writing. Liu was an author of Charter 08, a document promoting universal values, human rights, and democratic reform in China, and was among its 300 original signatories. He was detained in Beijing shortly before the charter was officially released, according to international news reports.

Liu was formally charged with subversion in June 2009, and he was tried in the Beijing Number 1 Intermediate Court in December of that year. Diplomats from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Sweden were denied access to the trial, the BBC reported. On December 25, 2009, the court convicted Liu of "inciting subversion" and sentenced him to 11 years in prison and two years' deprivation of political rights.

The verdict cited several articles Liu had posted on overseas websites, including the BBC's Chinese-language site and the U.S.-based websites Epoch Times and Observe China, all of which had criticized Communist Party rule. Six articles were named – including pieces headlined, "So the Chinese people only deserve 'one-party participatory democracy?'" and "Changing the regime by changing society" – as evidence that Liu had incited subversion. Liu's income was generated by his writing, his wife told the court.

The court verdict cited Liu's authorship and distribution of Charter 08 as further evidence of subversion. The Beijing Municipal High People's Court upheld the verdict in February 2010.

In October 2010, the Nobel Prize Committee awarded Liu its 2010 Peace Prize "for his long and nonviolent struggle for fundamental human rights in China." His wife, Liu Xia, has been kept under house arrest in her Beijing apartment since shortly after her husband's detention, according to international news reports. Authorities said she could request permission to visit Liu every two or three months, the BBC reported.

In March 2013, unidentified assailants beat two Hong Kong journalists as they filmed an activist's attempt to visit Liu Xia at her home.

In June 2013, Liu's brother-in-law, Liu Hui, a manager of a property company, was convicted of fraud in what the journalist's family said was reprisal for Liu Xiaobo's journalistic work. The conviction stemmed from a real estate dispute that his lawyers said had already been settled. Liu Hui was sentenced to 11 years in prison, news reports said. A court rejected his appeal in August 2013.

Liu Xiaobo is being held in Jinzhou Prison in northeastern China's Liaoning province, according to news reports.

Kunchok Tsephel Gopey Tsang, Chomei
Imprisoned: February 26, 2009

Public security officials arrested Tsang, an online writer, in Gannan, a Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in the south of Gansu province, according to Tibetan rights groups. Tsang ran the Tibetan cultural issues website Chomei, according to the Dharamsala, India-based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy. Kate Saunders, U.K. communications director for the International Campaign for Tibet, told CPJ that she learned of his arrest from two sources.

The detention appeared to be part of a wave of arrests of writers and intellectuals in advance of the 50th anniversary of the March 1959 uprising preceding the Dalai Lama's departure from Tibet. The 2008 anniversary had provoked ethnic rioting in Tibetan areas, and international reporters were barred from the region.

In November 2009, a Gannan court sentenced Tsang to 15 years in prison for disclosing state secrets, according to The Associated Press.

Gopey Tsang served four years of his sentence in Dingxi prison in Lanzhu, Gansu Province,

before being transferred in August 2013 to another prison in Gansu where conditions are

more harsh and where there are serious concerns for his health, according to PEN International. His family is allowed to visit him once every two months, but is only permitted to speak with him in Chinese via intercom through a glass screen. Not being allowed to converse in Tibetan is difficult for many of his nomadic family members, PEN International said.

Kunga Tsayang (Gang-Nyi), freelance
Imprisoned: March 17, 2009

The Public Security Bureau arrested Tsayang during a late-night raid, according to the Dharamsala, India-based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, which said it had received the information from several sources.

An environmental activist and photographer who also wrote online articles under the penname Gang-Nyi (Sun of Snowland), Tsayang maintained his own website, Zindris (Jottings), and contributed to others. He wrote several essays on politics in Tibet, including "Who is the real instigator of protests?" according to the New York-based advocacy group Students for a Free Tibet.

Tsayang was convicted of revealing state secrets and sentenced in November 2010 to five years in prison, according to the center. Sentencing was imposed during a closed-court proceeding in the Tibetan area of Gannan, Gansu province.

A number of Tibetans, including journalists, were arrested around the March anniversary of the failed uprising in 1959 that prompted the Dalai Lama's departure from Tibet. Security measures were heightened in the region in the aftermath of ethnic rioting in March 2008.

No information about where he is being held or any details about his health and living conditions have been disclosed.

Tan Zuoren, freelance
Imprisoned: March 28, 2009

Tan, an environmentalist and activist, had been investigating the deaths of schoolchildren killed in the May 2008 earthquake in Sichuan province when he was detained in Chengdu. Tan, believing that shoddy school construction contributed to the high death toll, had intended to publish the results of his investigation ahead of the first anniversary of the earthquake, according to international news reports.

Tan's supporters believe he was detained because of his investigation, although the formal charges did not cite his earthquake reporting. Instead, he was charged with "inciting subversion" for writings posted on overseas websites that criticized the military crackdown on demonstrators at Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989.

In particular, authorities cited "1989: A Witness to the Final Beauty," a firsthand account of the Tiananmen crackdown published on overseas websites in 2007, according to court documents. Several witnesses, including the prominent artist Ai Weiwei, were detained and blocked from testifying on Tan's behalf at his August 2009 trial.

On February 9, 2010, Tan was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison, according to international news reports. On June 9, 2010, the Sichuan Provincial High People's Court rejected his appeal.

Tan's wife, Wang Qinghua, told reporters in Hong Kong and overseas that he had contracted gout and was not receiving sufficient medical attention. Visitors to the prison were subject to strict examination before being allowed to see him, the German public news organization Deutsche Welle reported in 2012, citing Wang.

A number of prominent China and U.S.-based rights lawyers and dissidents published

an open letter calling for Tan's release in May 2013, ahead of the fifth anniversary of the earthquake, according to news reports.

No information on his whereabouts had been disclosed in late 2013. CPJ's emailed questions to his lawyer went unanswered.

Memetjan Abdulla, freelance
Imprisoned: July 2009

Abdulla, editor of the state-run China National Radio's Uighur service, was detained in July 2009 for allegedly instigating ethnic rioting in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region through postings on the Uighur-language website Salkin, which he managed in his spare time, according to international news reports. A court in the regional capital, Urumqi, sentenced him to life imprisonment on April 1, 2010, the reports said. The exact charges against Abdulla were not disclosed.

The U.S. government-funded Radio Free Asia reported on the sentence in December 2010, citing an unnamed witness at the trial. Abdulla was targeted for talking to international journalists in Beijing about the riots, and translating articles on the Salkin website, Radio Free Asia reported. The Germany-based World Uyghur Congress confirmed the sentence with sources in the region, according to The New York Times.

Abdulla is being held in a prison in Xinjiang, according to the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China, an organization founded by Congress in 2000 that has the legislative mandate to monitor human rights and the rule of law in China.

Tursunjan Hezim, Orkhun
Imprisoned: July 2009

Details of Hezim's arrest following the 2009 ethnic unrest in northwestern Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region first emerged in March 2011. Police in Xinjiang detained international journalists and severely restricted Internet access for several months after rioting broke out on July 5, 2009, in Urumqi, the regional capital, between groups of Han Chinese and the predominantly Muslim Uighur minority.

The U.S. government-funded Radio Free Asia, citing an anonymous source, reported that a court in the region's far western district of Aksu had sentenced Hezim, along with other journalists and dissidents, in July 2010. Several other Uighur website managers received heavy prison terms for posting articles and discussions about the previous year's violence, according to CPJ research.

Hezim edited the well-known Uighur website Orkhun. U.S.-based Uighur scholar Erkin Sidick told CPJ that the editor's whereabouts had been unknown from the time of the rioting until news of the conviction surfaced in 2011. Hezim was sentenced to seven years in prison on unknown charges in a trial closed to observers, according to Sidick, who had learned the news by telephone from sources in his native Aksu. Chinese authorities frequently restrict information on sensitive trials, particularly those involving ethnic minorities, according to CPJ research.

No information on where he is being held has been disclosed.

Gulmire Imin, freelance
Imprisoned: July 14, 2009

Imin was one of several administrators of Uighur-language Web forums who were arrested after the July 2009 riots in Urumqi, in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. In August 2010, Imin was sentenced to life in prison on charges of separatism, leaking state secrets, and organizing an illegal demonstration, a witness to her trial told the U.S. government-funded broadcaster Radio Free Asia.

Imin held a local government post in Urumqi. She also contributed poetry and short stories to the cultural website Salkin, and had been invited to moderate the site in late spring 2009, her husband, Behtiyar Omer, told CPJ. Omer confirmed the date of his wife's initial detention in a broadcast statement given at the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy in 2011.

Authorities accused Imin of being an organizer of major demonstrations on July 5, 2009, and of using the Uighur-language website to distribute information about the event, Radio Free Asia reported. Imin had been critical of the government in her online writings, readers of the website told Radio Free Asia. The website was shut down after the July riots and its contents were deleted.

Imin was also accused of leaking state secrets by phone to her husband, who lives in Norway. Her husband told CPJ that he had called her on July 5, 2009, only to be sure she was safe.

The riots, which began as a protest against the death of Uighur migrant workers in Guangdong province, turned violent and resulted in the deaths of 200 people, according to the official Chinese government count. Chinese authorities shut down the Internet in Xinjiang for months after the riots and hundreds of protesters were arrested, according to international human rights organizations and local and international media reports.

Imin is being held in the Xinjiang Women's Prison (Xinjiang No. 2 Prison) in Urumqi, according to the World Uyghur Congress.

Nijat Azat, Shabnam
Nureli, Salkin
Imprisoned: July or August 2009

Authorities imprisoned Azat and another journalist, Nureli, who goes by one name, in an apparent crackdown on managers of Uighur-language websites. Azat was sentenced to 10 years and Nureli to three years on charges of endangering state security, according to international news reports. The Uyghur American Association reported that the pair were tried and sentenced in July 2010.

Their sites, which have been shut down by the government, had run news articles and discussion groups concerning Uighur issues. The New York Times cited friends and family members of the men who said they were prosecuted because they had failed to respond quickly enough when they were ordered to delete content that discussed the difficulties of life in Xinjiang.

Nureli's three-year sentence should have been completed in 2013. Although prisoners in China are generally released at the completion of their sentence, CPJ could not confirm that Nureli had been freed. Former prisoners in China are often ordered not to discuss their detention or are afraid to do so.

Azat's whereabouts were also unknown in late 2013.

Dilshat Parhat (Dilixiati Paerhati), Diyarim
Imprisoned: August 7, 2009

Parhat, who edited the popular Uighur-language website Diyarim, was one of several online forum administrators arrested after ethnic violence in Urumqi in July 2009. Parhat was sentenced to a five-year prison term in July 2010 on charges of "endangering state security," according to international news reports. He has previously appeared on CPJ's prison census as Dilixiati Paerhati, which is the pinyin transliteration of his Chinese name.

Parhat was detained and interrogated about riots in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region on July 24, 2009, but was released without charge after eight days. Agents seized him from his apartment on August 7, 2009, although the government issued no formal notice of arrest, his U.K.-based brother told Amnesty International. News reports citing his brother said Parhat was prosecuted for failing to comply with an official order to delete anti-government comments on the website.

No information on where he was being held had been disclosed in late 2013.

Gheyrat Niyaz (Hailaite Niyazi), Uighurbiz
Imprisoned: October 1, 2009

Security officials arrested Niyaz, a website manager who is sometimes referred to as Hailaite Niyazi, in his home in the regional capital, Urumqi, according to international news reports. He was convicted under sweeping charges of "endangering state security" and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

According to international media reports, Niyaz was punished because of an August 2, 2009, interview with Yazhou Zhoukan (Asia Weekly), a Chinese-language magazine based in Hong Kong. In the interview, Niyaz said authorities had not taken steps to prevent violence in the July 2009 ethnic unrest that broke out in China's far-western Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.

Niyaz, who once worked for the state newspapers Xinjiang Legal News and Xinjiang Economic Daily, managed and edited the website Uighurbiz until June 2009. A statement posted on the website quoted Niyaz's wife as saying that while he did give interviews to international media, he had no malicious intentions.

Authorities blamed local and international Uighur sites for fueling the violence between Uighurs and Han Chinese in the predominantly Muslim Xinjiang region. Uighurbiz founder Ilham Tohti was questioned about the contents of the site and detained for more than six weeks, according to international news reports.

Niyaz is being held at Xinjiang No. 3 Prison, according to the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China, an organization founded by Congress in 2000 that has a legislative mandate to monitor human rights and the rule of law in China.

Tashi Rabten, freelance
Imprisoned: April 6, 2010

Public security officials detained Rabten for publishing a banned magazine and a collection of articles, according to Phayul, a pro-Tibetan independence news website based in New Delhi.

Rabten, a student at Northwest Minorities University in Lanzhou, Gansu province, edited the magazine Shar Dungri (Eastern Snow Mountain) in the aftermath of ethnic rioting in Tibet in March 2008. The magazine was banned by local authorities, according to the International Campaign for Tibet. The journalist later self-published a collection of articles titled Written in Blood, saying in the introduction that "after an especially intense year of the usual soul-destroying events, something had to be said," the campaign reported.

The book and the magazine discussed democracy and recent anti-China protests; the book was banned after he had distributed 400 copies, according to the U.S. government-funded Radio Free Asia. Rabten had already been detained once before, in 2009, according to international Tibetan rights groups and Radio Free Asia.

A court in Aba prefecture, a predominantly Tibetan area of Sichuan province, sentenced Rabten to four years in prison in a closed-door trial on June 2, 2011, according to Radio Free Asia and the International Campaign for Tibet. Radio Free Asia cited a family member as saying that Rabten had been charged with separatism, although CPJ could not independently confirm the charge.

No information on where he was being held had been disclosed in late 2013.

Dokru Tsultrim (Zhuori Cicheng), freelance
Imprisoned: May 24, 2010

Tsultrim, a monk at Ngaba Gomang Monastery in western Sichuan province, was detained in April 2009 in connection with alleged anti-government writings and articles in support of the Dalai Lama, according to the Dharamsala, India-based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy and the International Campaign for Tibet. Released after a month in custody, he was detained again in May 2010, according to the Dharamsala, India-based Tibet Post International. No formal charges or trial proceedings were disclosed.

At the time of his 2010 arrest, security officials raided his room at the monastery, confiscated documents, and demanded his laptop, a relative told The Tibet Post International. He and a friend had planned to publish the writings of Tibetan youths detailing an April 2010 earthquake in Qinghai province, the relative said.

Tsultrim, originally from Qinghai province, which is on the Tibetan plateau, also managed a private Tibetan journal, Khawai Tsesok (Life of Snow), which ceased publication after his 2009 arrest, the center said.

"Zhuori Cicheng" is the Chinese transliteration of his name, according to Tashi Choephel Jamatsang at the center, who provided CPJ with details by email.

No information on where he was being held, his legal status, or his health had been disclosed in late 2013.

Kalsang Jinpa (Garmi), freelance
Imprisoned: June 19, 2010

Jangtse Donkho (Nyen, Rongke), freelance
Imprisoned: June 21, 2010

Buddha, freelance
Imprisoned: June 26, 2010

The three men, contributors to the banned Tibetan-language magazine Shar Dungri (Eastern Snow Mountain), were detained in Aba, a Tibetan area in southwestern Sichuan province, the U.S. government-funded Radio Free Asia reported.

Donkho, an author and editor who wrote under the penname Nyen, meaning "Wild One," was detained on June 21, 2010, Radio Free Asia reported. The name on his official identification is Rongke, according to the International Campaign for Tibet. Many Tibetans use only one name.

Buddha, a practicing physician, was detained on June 26, 2010, at the hospital where he worked in the town of Aba. Kalsang Jinpa, who wrote under the penname Garmi, meaning "Blacksmith," was detained on June 19, 2010, Radio Free Asia reported, citing local sources.

On October 21, 2010, they were tried together in the Aba Intermediate Court on charges of inciting separatism that were based on articles they had written in the aftermath of the March 2008 ethnic rioting. Radio Free Asia, citing an unnamed source in Tibet, reported that the court later sentenced Donkho and Buddha to four years' imprisonment each and Jinpa to three years. In January 2011, the broadcaster reported that the three had been put in Mian Yang jail near the Sichuan capital, Chengdu, where they were subjected to hard labor.

Shar Dungri was a collection of essays published in July 2008 and distributed in western China before authorities banned the publication, according to the advocacy group International Campaign for Tibet, which translated the journal. The writers assailed Chinese human rights abuses against Tibetans, lamented a history of repression, and questioned official media accounts of the March 2008 unrest.

Buddha's essay, "Hindsight and Reflection," was presented as part of the prosecution, Radio Free Asia reported. According to a translation of the essay by the International Campaign for Tibet, Buddha wrote: "If development means even the slightest difference between today's standards and the living conditions of half a century ago, why the disparity between the pace of construction and progress in Tibet and in mainland China?"

The editor of Shar Dungri, Tashi Rabten, was also jailed in 2010.

Jinpa's three-year sentence may have been completed in 2013. Although prisoners in China are generally released at the completion of their sentence, CPJ could not confirm that Jinpa had been freed. Former prisoners in China are often ordered not to discuss their detention or are afraid to do so.

Liu Xianbin, freelance
Imprisoned: June 28, 2010

A court in western Sichuan province sentenced Liu to 10 years in prison on charges of inciting subversion through articles published on overseas websites between April 2009 and February 2010, according to international news reports. One was titled "Constitutional Democracy for China: Escaping Eastern Autocracy," according to the BBC.

The sentence was unusually harsh; inciting subversion normally carries a maximum five-year penalty, international news reports said. Liu also signed Liu Xiaobo's pro-democracy Charter 08 petition. (Liu Xiaobo, who won the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize for his actions, is serving an 11-year term on the same charge.)

Police detained Liu Xianbin on June 28, 2010, according to the Washington-based prisoner rights group Laogai Foundation. He was sentenced in 2011 during a crackdown on bloggers and activists who sought to organize demonstrations inspired by uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, according to CPJ research.

Liu spent more than two years in prison for involvement in the 1989 anti-government protests in Tiananmen Square. He later served 10 years of a 13-year prison sentence handed down in 1999 after he founded a branch of the China Democracy Party, according to The New York Times.

No information about where Liu was being held had been disclosed in late 2013.

Lü Jiaping, freelance
Imprisoned: September 4, 2010

Jin Andi, freelance
Imprisoned: September 19, 2010

Beijing police detained Lü, a military scholar in his 70s, his wife, Yu Junyi, and his colleague, Jin, for inciting subversion in 13 online articles they wrote and distributed together, according to international news reports and human rights groups.

A court sentenced Lü to 10 years in prison and Jin to eight years in prison on May 13, 2011, according to the Hong Kong-based advocacy group Chinese Human Rights Defenders. Yu, 71, was given a suspended three-year sentence and kept under residential surveillance, according to the group. Their families were not informed of the trial, and Yu broke the news when the surveillance was lifted in February 2012, according to the English-language Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post and the U.S. government-funded Voice of America.

An appeals court upheld the sentences on the basis that the three defendants "wrote essays of an inciting nature" and "distributed them through the mail, emails, and by posting them on individuals' web pages. [They] subsequently were posted and viewed by others on websites such as Boxun News and New Century News," according to a 2012 translation of the appeal verdict published online by William Farris, a Beijing-based lawyer. The 13 offending articles, which were principally written by Lü, were listed in the appeal judgment, along with dates, places of publication, and number of times they were re-posted. One 70-word paragraph was reproduced as proof of incitement to subvert the state. The paragraph said in part that the Chinese Communist Party's status as a "governing power and leadership utility has long-since been smashed and subverted by the powers that hold the Party at gunpoint."

Court documents said Lü and Jin were being held in the Beijing Number 1 Detention Center. Lü suffered a heart attack and other health problems in jail, leaving him barely able to walk, according to Chinese Human Rights Defenders.

Li Tie, freelance
Imprisoned: September 15, 2010

Police in Wuhan, Hubei province, detained 52-year-old freelancer Li in September 2010, according to international news reports. The Wuhan Intermediate People's Court tried him behind closed doors on April 18, 2011, but did not announce the verdict until January 18, 2012, when he was handed a 10-year prison term and three additional years' political deprivation, according to news reports citing his lawyer. Only Li's mother and daughter were allowed to attend the trial, news reports said.

The court cited 13 of Li's online articles to support the charge of subversion of state power, a more serious count than inciting subversion, which is a common criminal charge used against jailed journalists in China, according to CPJ research. Evidence in the trial cited articles including one headlined "Human beings' heaven is human dignity," in which Li urged respect for ordinary citizens and called for democracy and political reform, according to international news reports. Prosecutors argued that the articles proved Li had "anti-government thoughts" that would ultimately lead to "anti-government actions," according to Hong Kong-based Chinese Human Rights Defenders.

Jian Guanghong, a lawyer hired by his family, was detained before the trial, and a government-appointed lawyer represented Li instead, according to the group. Prosecutors also cited Li's membership in the small opposition group the China Social Democracy Party, the group reported.

No information about where Li was being held had been disclosed in late 2013.

Chen Wei, freelance
Imprisoned: February 20, 2011

Police in Suining, Sichuan, detained Chen among the dozens of lawyers, writers, and activists jailed nationwide following anonymous online calls for a nonviolent "Jasmine Revolution" in China, according to international news reports. The Hong Kong-based Chinese Human Rights Defenders reported that Chen was formally charged on March 28, 2011, with inciting subversion of state power.

Chen's lawyer, Zheng Jianwei, made repeated attempts to visit him but was not allowed access until September 8, 2011, according to the rights group and the U.S. government-funded broadcaster Radio Free Asia. Radio Free Asia reported that police had selected four pro-democracy articles Chen had written for overseas websites as the basis for criminal prosecution.

In December 2011, a court in Suining sentenced Chen to nine years in prison on charges of "inciting subversion," a term viewed as unusually harsh.

He is being held in Suining City Detention Centre in Sichuan Province, according to Amnesty International.

Gartse Jigme, freelance
Imprisoned: January 1, 2013

Police arrested Jigme, a Tibetan author and monk, in his room at the Rebgong Gartse monastery in the Malho prefecture of Qinghai province, according to news reports. His family was unaware of his whereabouts until a Qinghai court sentenced him to five years in prison on May 14, 2013. The charges have not been disclosed.

The conviction was in connection with the second volume of Jigme's book, Tsenpoi Nyingtob (The Warrior's Courage), according to Voice of America and Radio Free Asia. The book contained chapters expressing Jigme's strong opinions on topics such as Chinese policies in Tibet, self-immolations, minority rights, and the Dalai Lama, according to reports.

Authorities did not disclose any information on Jigme's health or whereabouts.

Jigme had also been briefly detained in 2011 in connection with the first volume of his book, Tsenpoi Nyingtob, according to the Hong Kong-based group Chinese Human Rights Defenders and Tibetan rights groups. He had written the book as a reflection on widespread protests in Tibetan areas in the spring of 2008, Tibetan scholar Robert Barnett told CPJ. China has jailed scores of Tibetan writers, artists, and educators for asserting Tibetan national identity and civil rights since widespread protests swept the region in 2008.

Liu Wei'an, freelance
Imprisoned: June 5, 2013

Hu Yazhu, Nanfang Daily
Imprisoned: June 21, 2013

The Shaoguan People's Procuratorate, a state legal body, issued a statement in June 2013 that said Hu and Liu had been arrested in Guangdong province after confessing to accepting bribes while covering events in the northern city of Shaoguan.

Hu, a staff reporter for the official Guangdong Communist Party newspaper Nanfang Daily, and Liu, a freelance writer, had both written articles published in 2011 in Nanfang Daily and news websites about a land-use dispute involving the illegal extraction of rare minerals in Shaoguan, according to news reports.

The prosecutors' statement said Hu accepted 95,000 yuan (about US$16,000) in bribes, but did not offer a specific amount for Liu. The statement did not offer further details.

Users on Weibo, China's Twitter-like microblog service, said they suspected the reporters were arrested "due to possible revenge from local authorities" because their reports had exposed problems in the government and judiciary, according to CPJ research.

Shaoguan authorities had not disclosed the health, whereabouts, or legal status of the journalists in late 2013.

Liu Hu, Modern Express
Imprisoned: August 23, 2013

Liu, a journalist for the Shenzhen-based state-owned newspaper New Express, was arrested at his home in Chongqing province in connection with statements he made on his microblog in July 2013, according to news reports and Liu's lawyers. He was charged with libel on September 30, 2013, news reports said.

In his posts, Liu urged authorities to investigate Ma Zhengqi, deputy director of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, for dereliction of duty during his term as vice mayor of Chongqing. Liu accused the official of losing millions of yuan while overseeing the privatization of two state-owned companies, according to media reports. Liu's posts were later removed, and his microblog accounts were shut down without explanation.

In an interview with the South China Morning Post in July, Liu said that in 2002 Ma allowed civil servants to purchase the state companies for 1.7 million yuan (US$278,000), far less than their value of 27.7 million yuan. He also posted a government document allegedly showing that Ma waived investigation into the deal, saying, "What is done cannot be undone. Let's focus now on the later development."

Neither Ma nor the State Administration for Industry and Commerce publicly addressed Liu's claims.

Authorities have not disclosed Liu's whereabouts. No trial date was set in late 2013.

Authorities detained scores of people starting in August 2013 in a stepped-up campaign to banish online commentary that, among other issues, casts the government in a critical light, according to Chinese media and human rights groups. Many have been released, but some were still being held on criminal accusations.

Charles Xue Biqun, freelance
Imprisoned: August 23, 2013

Charles Xue Biqun, a Chinese-born American billionaire venture capitalist and a prominent microblogger, was detained on August 23, 2013, in connection with alleged involvement in prostitution, according to Beijing police. He was put under administrative detention, whereby individuals are imprisoned without trial. It is not clear if Xue has been officially charged.

Xue appeared in a 30-minute program on CCTV in September in prison garb, and confessed to being an "irresponsible opinion leader" and not for soliciting prostitutes. At the end of the program, Xue expressed his support for recent judicial guidelines that define and outlaw false online rumors, saying that they would "restore order" in the online world.

Xue's Weibo microblog had 12 million followers, and critics have said that the allegations against Xue were fabricated in reprisal for his online comments. He was known for his investing tips and commentary on social issues, such as child trafficking and the underprivileged, according to The New York Times. Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the Global Times paper, said, "It is a universal ruse by governments around the world to use sex scandals or tax evasion charges to frame political rivals," according to the South China Morning Post.

Although Xue is not a professional journalist, CPJ determined that he was jailed in connection with his news-based commentary published on the Internet. Authorities detained scores of people starting in August 2013 in a stepped-up campaign to banish online commentary that, among other issues, casts the government in a critical light, according to Chinese media and human rights groups. Many have been released, but some were still being held on criminal accusations.

Dong Rubin, freelance
Imprisoned: September 12, 2013

Dong was detained in Kunming City, Yunnan Province, on accusations of misstating his company's registered assets, according to statements from his lawyer.

Dong, who runs an Internet consulting company, had used the name "Bianmin" on his microblog to criticize authorities and raise concerns about local issues. He had also used the microblog to campaign in 2009 for an investigation into the death of a young man in police custody. (Authorities had initially said it was accidental but later admitted the man was beaten to death, according to news reports.) In 2013, Dong raised safety and environmental concerns about plans for a new state-owned oil refinery project near the city of Kunming and expressed support on his microblog for a protest against the project by Kunming residents in May 2013.

Dong predicted his own arrest when he wrote on his microblog, which has about 50,000 followers, that strangers had raided his office in late August and taken away three computers. "What crime will they bring against me? Prostituting, gambling, using and selling drugs, evading tax, causing trouble on purpose, fabricating rumors, running a mafia online?" Dong wrote.

Dong's friend, Zheng Xiejian, told Reuters in September: "If they want to punish you, they can always find an excuse. They could not find any wrongdoing against Dong and had to settle on this obscure charge."

Dong's lawyer, Xiao Dongzhi, told CPJ that he was formally charged at a hearing in late October. Dong was charged with declaring false capital in the registration of his Internet consulting company and of conducting illegal business operations, according to Xiao and statements from police authorities that were published by Xinhua, China's official state news agency.

He was also charged with creating disturbances in connection to his online activities, police said.

As of November 2013, a date for Dong's trial had not been set, Xiao told CPJ.

Although Dong is not a professional journalist, CPJ determined that he was jailed in connection with his news-based commentary published on the Internet. Authorities detained scores of people starting in August 2013 in a stepped-up campaign to banish online commentary that, among other issues, casts the government in a critical light, according to Chinese media and human rights groups. Many have been released, but some were still being held on criminal accusations.

Chen Yongzhou, The New Express
Imprisoned: October 18, 2013

Police detained Chen, a journalist working for the state-run New Express newspaper based in the southern city of Guangzhou, in connection with his reports on the finances of one of the country's largest construction machinery companies, Zoomlion Heavy Industry Science and Technology Company, according to The New York Times.

Chen had written 15 articles, published between September 2012 and June 2013, that questioned Zoomlion's revenue and profit figures, news reports said. Chen alleged that the company, which is partly owned by the Hunan government, had exaggerated profits and manipulated the market, reports said. Zoomlion denied the allegations.

Chen was summoned to a Guangzhou police station on October 18, 2013, and was then taken into custody by police officers visiting from Changsha, located 700 kilometers (437 miles) to the north. He was put in a Mercedes-Benz and driven away, reports said. Four days later, police announced his arrest on their official Sina Weibo microblog, saying he was being held on criminal charges of "damaging commercial reputation," the Hong Kong-based China Media Project reported.

After failed attempts to secure Chen's release behind closed doors, The New Express published a front-page appeal for his release, marking one of the few times a Chinese newspaper has openly demanded the release of one of its journalists. The paper's editors said they had thoroughly vetted Chen's stories and found only one factual error.

However, on October 26, 2013, Chen appeared in handcuffs on China Central Television (CCTV) and confessed to having filed false information in exchange for money. He said the stories on Zoomlion had been written by someone else, according to news reports. The CCTV broadcast did not name the intermediary who allegedly bribed Chen or offer any evidence or details on the amounts received. According to Caixin magazine, a close-up shot of Chen's signed confession aired during the CCTV interview clearly showed the name of Zoomlion's chief competitor, Sany Heavy Industry Co.

The New Express subsequently published an apology. The official All-China Journalists Association, which had pledged to investigate Chen's arrest, condemned his actions, the China Media Project reported.

No information about a trial had been disclosed in late 2013, and it was unclear where Chen was being held. His lawyer could not be reached.

Copyright notice: © Committee to Protect Journalists. All rights reserved. Articles may be reproduced only with permission from CPJ.

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