Reporters Without Borders: Fourteen Years Jail Sentence for Posting an Article Online

You might try to figure out what kind of government would hand out such a severe punishment to their cyber dissidents? Of course, it has to be China. Five practitioners of Falun Gong, a Chinese spiritual movement, were sentenced to jail on the 19th of February 2004, ranging from five to fourteen years in prison, for helping to post news on a web site about ill-treatment in prison of a female undergraduate student, a practitioner of Falun Gong.

Reporters Without Borders (Reporters Sans Frontieres) has exposed and condemned the jail sentences handed out by Court No.1 in western Chongqing. In its verdict, the court said that the report published online "tarnished the image of the government by broadcasting fabricated stories of persecution suffered by Falun Gong practitioners."

"The crackdown of members of this spiritual movement is completely unjustified," said a reporter of the RSF group. "The five Internet-users were convicted for posting online what is already very well known to human rights organisations, that members of Falun Gong are systematically tortured in prison."

“Lu Zengqi, accused of writing the incriminating document, and Yan Qiuyan, who was said to have helped him publish the article, were both sentenced to ten years in jail. Li Jian, who reportedly posted an article on a site run by the movement, was sentenced to thirteen years in prison. Chen Shumin, head of the company where Lu Zengqi worked was jailed for fourteen years. Yin Yan was sentenced to five years but without any evidence being given of the part he played."

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