An, an anti-corruption campaigner, was sentenced to four years in prison on subversion charges. The Intermediate People’s Court in Xinyang, Henan Province, announced the verdict on April 19, 2000, citing An’s essays and articles on corruption as evidence of his anti-state activities.
A former manager of an export trading company, An founded the civic group Zhongguo Fubai Xingwei Guancha (China Corruption Monitor) in 1998 and was arrested in July 1999. The group reportedly exposed more than 100 cases of corruption. During his November 1999 trial, An “said he was only trying to help the government end rampant corruption,” according to Agence France-Presse.
In November 2001, An’s family sent a letter to President Jiang Zemin appealing for the journalist’s release for medical reasons. An suffers from heart problems and has not received adequate treatment while in prison, according to Agence France-Presse.
On December 7, 2002, An began a hunger strike to protest prison conditions, according to the New York-based advocacy group Human Rights in China. At the end of the year, he was in critical condition after having refused food for more than three weeks.