In 1994, Fan and Yang Jianguo printed more than 60,000 copies of the magazine Remen Huati (Popular Topics). The men had allegedly purchased fake printing authorizations from an editor of the Journal of European Research at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, according to official Chinese news sources. Printing authorizations are a prior restraint used to curtail independent publishing in China.
CPJ was unable to determine the date of Fan’s arrest, but on October 16, 1995, he was indicted on charges of profiteering. On January 31, 1996, the Chang’an District Court in Shijiazhuang City sentenced him to 13 years in prison, with three years’ subsequent deprivation of political rights, for publishing and distributing illegal “reactionary” publications. Yang escaped arrest and was not sentenced.
Fan’s appeal was rejected on April 11, 1996, according to the Chinese government’s response to a query by the San Francisco-based prisoners’ advocacy group Dui Hua Foundation.