Chen, a freelance writer, was arrested on suspicion of “using the Internet to subvert state power,” the official Hunan Daily reported on September 14, 2002. The article did not give the date of Chen’s arrest, although Boxun News, an overseas online news service, reported that he was arrested on August 6, 2002.
Chen, who lives in Lianyuan, Hunan Province, has written numerous essays and articles for various overseas Chinese-language Web sites, including the online magazine Huang Hua Gang and Minzhu Luntan (Democracy Forum). According to his biography on Minzhu Luntan, Chen’s essays covered topics including China’s unemployment problem, social inequalities, and flaws in the legal system.
The Hunan Daily article accused Chen of “repeatedly browsing reactionary websites … sending in numerous articles of all sorts, fabricating, distorting and exaggerating relevant facts, and vilifying the Chinese Communist Party and the socialist system.” The report stated that Chen had published more than 40 articles on overseas “reactionary” Web sites. It is not clear whether he has been formally charged.