Beijing police detained Lü, a military scholar in his 70s, his wife, Yu Junyi, and his colleague, Jin, on allegations of inciting subversion in 13 online articles they wrote and distributed together, according to international news reports and human rights groups.
A 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, 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.
An appeals court upheld the sentences. maintaining 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 offending articles, which were principally written by Lü, were listed in the appeal judgment, along with dates, places of publication, and 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.”
Court documents said Lü and Jin were being held in the Beijing No. 1 Detention Center. Early in his incarceration Lü suffered a heart attack and other health problems, leaving him barely able to walk, according to the Hong Kong-based advocacy group Chinese Human Rights Defenders. An application for medical parole was rejected, and the Independent Chinese PEN Center reported that Lü remains in poor health. In January 2014, the U.S.-based prisoner advocacy group Dui Hua Foundation reported that Lü had been granted a 22-month sentence reduction for good behavior and is expected to be released on March 14, 2019.