JANUARY 29, 2005
Posted: March 28, 2005

Zhang Lin, Freelance

Zhang, a political essayist who wrote regularly for overseas online news sites, was detained on his return to Anhui Province after traveling to Beijing to mourn the death of Zhao Ziyang, the ousted general secretary of the Communist Party.

Scheduled for release after 15 days of administrative detention, Zhang was instead put in “criminal detention” on suspicion of “endangering state security.” The allegations were linked to essays by Zhang that called for political reform and democracy in China. On March 19, 2005, Zhang’s wife Fang Caofang received notice that he had been formally arrested on allegations of inciting subversion.

Authorities did not specify the articles that led to Zhang’s arrest, his wife told CPJ. Guo Guoting, who had planned on acting as his defense lawyer, was barred from visiting Zhang last month. In February, authorities in Shanghai suspended Guo’s license to practice law for a year, leaving Zhang without legal counsel.

Zhang is also a political activist who has spent eight years in prison and labor camp since 1989, according to Boxun News, a U.S.-based Chinese-language on-line newspaper to which Zhang was a regular contributor.