Beijing police detained Jin, a freelance writer, Lü Jiaping, a military scholar, and Lü's wife, Yu Junyi, on allegations of inciting subversion in 13 online articles they wrote and distributed together, according to international news reports and human rights groups.
A Beijing court sentenced Lü to 10 years in prison and Jin to eight years in prison on May 13, 2011, for subverting state power, according to the Hong Kong-based advocacy group Chinese Human Rights Defenders. Yu, 71 at the time, was given a suspended three-year sentence and kept under residential surveillance, which was lifted in February 2012, according to the group and the English-language, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post, and the U.S. government-funded Voice of America. Lü, who was in his 70s when arrested, was granted medical parole in February 2015 due to his deteriorating health, according to BBC Chinese.
The court maintains that the three defendants "wrote essays of an inciting nature" and "distributed them through the mail, emails, and by posting them on individuals' Web pages. [They] subsequently were posted and viewed by others on websites such as Boxun News and New Century News," according to a 2012 translation of the appeal verdict published online by William Farris, a lawyer in Beijing. The 13 articles, which were principally written by Lü, were listed in the appeal judgment, along with dates, places of publication, and the number of times they were reposted. One 70-word paragraph was reproduced as proof of incitement to subvert the state. The paragraph said in part that the Chinese Communist Party's status as a "governing power and leadership utility has long since been smashed and subverted by the powers that hold the Party at gunpoint."
Jin is serving his sentence in Xi'an Prison in Shaanxi province, according to China Political Prisoner Concern, a human rights website based in New York. Jin’s mother, Zhang Wei, told CPJ that Jin suffers from severe diabetes and that the Xi’an Prison hospital recommended that he be released on medical parole in 2016 to seek better treatment. Zhang told CPJ that prison authorities rejected that recommendation, telling her that they denied the parole because Jin refused to plead guilty. In September 2017, Jin experienced diabetic ketoacidosis and fell unconscious. He was taken to the prison hospital to recover and has remained there since that episode. Xi’an Prison told Jin’s family that Jin may be granted medical parole, but did not specify when. Jin’s family is allowed to visit him once a month, according to Jin’s mother.