Wang, a freelance journalist, was arrested in early May 2001 for e-mailing essays to overseas organizations arguing that the government should change its official line that the 1989 protests in Tiananmen Square were “counterrevolutionary.” In October, Wang was formally charged with “inciting to subvert state power.” On November 14, the Junan County Court in Shandong Province conducted his closed trial; only the journalists’ relatives were allowed to attend. On December 13, Wang was sentenced to four years in prison.
Wang, a member of the banned China Democracy Party, had been detained several times in the past for his political activities. In February, days before the International Olympic Committee (IOC) visited Beijing, he was briefly taken into custody after signing an open letter calling on the IOC to pressure China to release political prisoners. A number of Wang’s essays have been posted on various Internet sites. One, titled “My Account of Police Violations of Civil Rights,” describes his January 2001 detention, when police interrogated him and held him for 20 hours with no food or heat after he signed an open letter calling for the release of political prisoners.