Cai was arrested at his home in Shijiazhuang, Hebei province. In October 2003, the Shijiazhuang Intermediate People’s Court sentenced him to three years in prison on subversion charges.
Cai, 35, had used pen names to write numerous essays distributed online calling for political reforms. His articles included “Political Democracy Is the Means; A Powerful Country and Prosperous Citizenry Is the Goal”; “An Outline for Building and Governing the Country”; and “The Course of Chinese Democracy.”
Following the November 2002 arrest of Internet essayist Liu Di, Cai Lujun began to publish online essays under his own name calling for Liu’s release and expressing his political views. Liu was released on November 28, 2003.