|Yao Wentian (Yiu Man-tin), Morning Bell Press
|October 27, 2013
Yao Wentian, a Hong Kong publisher and honorary member of the Independent Chinese PEN Centre, was placed under residential surveillance in Shenzhen, in China's southern Guangdong province, by state public security officers on October 27, 2013, on "suspicion of smuggling ordinary goods" before he was detained on November 2 and formally arrested on November 12, 2013. Yao's son, Edmond Yao, said his father had been preparing to publish a book titled Chinese Godfather Xi Jinping by the exiled, U.S.-based Chinese author Yu Jie. A previous book Yao published by Yu, which criticized former Premier Wen Jiabao, is banned in China.
Yao was not counted in CPJ's 2013 prison census because his detention was not made public until January 2014.
Yao was accused of falsely labeling and smuggling industrial chemicals. His family claimed he was delivering industrial paint to a friend in Shenzhen. At his trial, prosecutors said the cost of the industrial chemicals Yao was accused of smuggling from Hong Kong amounted to more than 1 million yuan (US$163,000), according to reports.
On May 7, 2014 during a closed-door trial at the Shenzhen Intermediate People's Court, Yao was sentenced to the maximum 10 years in prison. According to family members, he is being held in Dongguan Prison in Shilong in Guangdong province. The elderly Yao's health is poor, the family says, because he is forced to do hard labor and is not receiving medical treatment.
Yao started his publishing business in Hong Kong in the 1990s. The small Morning Bell Press has published many books by Chinese dissident writers.
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