Release of Chinese journalist Shi Tao was long overdue

New York, September 9, 2013–The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the early release of journalist Shi Tao, who was first detained in 2004 and sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2005 on charges of “leaking state secrets abroad.” Shi was released on August 23, according to an announcement on Sunday by Zhang Yu, the deputy secretary-general of the Independent Chinese PEN Center.

“We welcome Shi’s release 15 months before the end of his 10-year sentence, but each day he spent in prison was a grave injustice. Shi should never have been arrested in the first place,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “It is ironic that reporters and editors in China now regularly commit Shi’s ‘crime’ of posting directives from the government’s Propaganda Department on social media platforms that did not even exist when Shi exposed China’s heavy-handed attempts to control the media.”

In 2005, CPJ honored Shi Tao, in absentia, with an International Press Freedom Award.