New York, January 13, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists mourns the death on December 31 of Zhang Jianhong, the founder of Aiqinghai (Aegean Sea), a popular website closed by the Chinese government in 2006, according to several human rights groups. Zhang had been sentenced to six years in prison by a court in Ningbo in the eastern province of Zhejiang in March 2007, charged with "incitement to subvert the state's authority" for calling for political reform in articles he posted online.
"Zhang Jianhong's untimely death is an embittering reminder of China's record of callously jailing journalists who don't toe the Communist Party line," said Bob Dietz, CPJ's Asia program coordinator.
health had deteriorated significantly in jail, according to his wife, Dong
Min, who spoke with CPJ by telephone in October 2008. He suffered from a
debilitating disease affecting the nervous system and was unable to perform
basic tasks without help. Appeals for parole on medical grounds were not
granted and, by 2009, he was no longer able to write, according to the
Zhang had written commentary calling for political reform in