Saturday, August 06, 2005

Cyber Dissident Gets 5 Years In Prison

This article is going up on the blog for a short time. I'll take it down again, soon. We're headed back to China in October, 2005 and hope to go again in 2008 for the Olympics.
Cyber activist Zhang Lin was sentenced to 5 years in prison for posting reports and essays on the Internet which "jeopardised national unity and territorial sovereignty, spread lies and disturbed public order and social stability." First jailed in January, Zhang’s sentence also includes the loss of his political rights for 4 years after his release.

Reporters Without Borders have already expressed their outrage at the ruling, saying "The Chinese judges were deaf to Zhang's plea of not guilty on the basis of the right to free expression because, in their view, expressing oneself on the Internet is a crime." Evidence used to convict Zhang included punk rock lyrics in one of his essays and an interview he gave to foreign news media. Zhang has 10 days to file his appeal.

Zhang Lin is another example of the Chinese government’s restrictive attitude toward the Internet. In April, journalist Shi Tao was sentenced to 10 years in prison after he provided an overseas Web site with a summary of an official document alerting journalists to possible social instability around the 15th anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown. Last month China also confirmed plans to establish "a long-term mechanism" monitoring internet cafes, which are visited by some 40 million people a day. Over the last couple of years China has closed thousands of net cafes amid fears that they can affect the "mental health of teenagers" while spreading "unhealthy online information". /china_internet id_article=14586

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