Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned that journalist Li Yuanlong has been formally indicted on charges of “incitement to subvert state power.”
Sources in China told HRIC that Li, formerly a reporter with Bijie Daily in Guizhou Province, was originally detained on September 9, 2005, and was formally arrested on suspicion of subversion on September 29. In November Li was transferred to the Bijie Detention Center, where he has remained up to the present. On February 9, the Guizhou provincial procuratorate formally indicted Li Yuanlong on charges of incitement to subvert state power. Li has not been allowed family visitation since his detention.
HRIC’s sources said a Shandong-based lawyer, Li Jianqiang, has offered to provide pro-bono legal representation to Li Yuanlong. A locally-based lawyer was allowed to visit Li Yuanlong in prison on January 25 and found him in relatively good spirits. Li’s lawyers believe his case will be tried in the very near future.
Li Yuanlong, 45, worked as a reporter for the Bijie Daily for eight years. He ran afoul of the local authorities after publishing a series of reports on unemployment and rural poverty. He also posted essays on the Internet under the pen name Ye Lang (“Night Wolf”), including “On Becoming an American in Spirit” and “The Banal Nature of Life and the Lamentable Nature of Death.” Sources say it is these essays that prompted Li’s detention and indictment.
On February 14, Liu Zhengrong, deputy director-general of the Internet Affairs Bureau of China’s State Council Information Office, stated in a press conference that “no one has been arrested in China for publishing articles on the Internet.” This clearly flies in the face of the detention and imprisonment of Li Yuanlong, Shi Tao, Zheng Yichun, Zhang Lin and other print and Internet journalists on state security grounds. HRIC deplores the use of vague state security laws to intimidate journalists and control public comment, and calls for the release of all those arbitrarily detained for the peaceful expression of their views.