China: CPJ condemns latest attempt to charge journalist Li Jianping

New York, March 15, 2006—The Committee to Protect Journalists rejects Chinese government charges of subverting state power brought against imprisoned Internet journalist Li Jianping.

Li has been detained in Zibo, a city in northeastern China’s Shandong Province, since May 27, 2005. The latest charges were brought on March 9, and recently made public by Li’s wife, Xu Hui. Li was originally arrested on suspicion of defamation.

On Tuesday, Xu Hui told The Associated Press that Li’s case had twice been rejected by prosecutors for a lack of evidence.

“It is clear that the Chinese government is on a fishing expedition, trying to find some grounds for prosecuting a journalist who has done nothing more than anger them with his critical reporting,” said Ann Cooper, CPJ’s executive director. “The authorities should stop this persecution and free Li Jianping immediately.”

Li wrote frequently for overseas news Web sites banned in China, such as Boxun News, Epoch Times, China Democracy and ChinaEWeekly. Some of his articles directly criticized the Chinese Communist Party leadership, including former and current Chinese presidents Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao. Just days before his detention, Li wrote a strongly critical analysis of Hu Jintao’s policy toward Taiwan, posted on ChinaEWeekly. It was unclear which of his articles led to his detention.