New York, May 21, 2003—On May 17, free-lance journalist Jiang Qisheng was released from prison after completing his four-year prison term.
Jiang was arrested on May 18, 1999, after writing a series of essays and petitions marking the 10th anniversary of the June 4, 1989, military crackdown on peaceful protesters in the capital, Beijing. On November 1, 1999, the Beijing Intermediate People’s Court tried Jiang on the charge of “incitement to subvert state power.” During the trial, prosecutors cited as evidence of his anti-state activities an essay he had penned calling for a protest vigil. Thirteen months after Jiang’s trial, the court sentenced him to four years in prison.
According to CPJ’s records, China is currently holding 38 journalists in prison. The country has been the world’s leading jailer of journalists for four years in a row.