Chinese journalist Wang Linlin is serving a nine-year prison term on charges of extortion and picking quarrels and provoking trouble for her coverage of sensitive social issues. Yingshang county police arrested Wang, director and contributor to the provincial news website Hui Town Site, in 2018.
Wang ran Hui Town Site and shared news and commentary on Weibo, the Chinese microblogging website, under the username “I’m in the World of Mortals, You are in Heaven,” where she had more than 170,000 followers, according to news reports. She often wrote on Hui Town Site and on Weibo about allegedly unjust court convictions and verdicts, developers’ schemes to exploit workers, local corruption, and other social issues, according to CPJ’s review of her writing.
On April 12, 2018, police in Anhui province’s Yingshang county arrested Wang for alleged extortion, according to reports by U.S. Congress-funded broadcaster Radio Free Asia and Chinese human rights website Weiquanwang. Police arrested her at a hotel room after she posted on Weibo alleging that the Xiaqiao township government in Yingshang county had forcefully evicted two senior residents who later committed suicide because of the eviction, according to those reports.
In an interview with Radio Free Asia, Wang’s lawyer Zhang Jinwu said that Xiong Dechao, then the party secretary of Yingshang county, had ordered Wang’s arrest. On December 13, 2020, Xiong was arrested and sentenced to 13 years in prison for corruption, according to a statement by Anhui’s Discipline Inspection and Supervision Department.
According to Weiquanwang, one month after Wang’s arrest, police claimed that she “maliciously posted information about the county authorities and violated the national law,” and in August 2019 the Yingshang County Court convicted her on charges of extortion and picking quarrels and provoking trouble, and sentenced her to nine years in prison.
Wang is being held at the Fuyang City Women’s Detention Center, in Anhui province, and has appealed her convictions, according to the Chinese-language human rights website China Political Prisoner Concern. CPJ could not determine the status of that appeal.
In September 2022, CPJ contacted Yingshang County People’s Government for comment via messaging app but did not receive any response.