News

January 17, 2019

China: Three journalists sentenced to prison terms

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls for the immediate release of Sun Lin, Zhen Jianghua and Ding Lingjie, three journalists whom the Chinese authorities have condemned during end of the year, to sentences ranging from 20 months to 4 years in prison.

On December 25, 2018, the Nanjing Intermediate People's Court sentenced Sun Lin, a former contributor to the US-based Chinese news website Boxun, to four years imprisonment for "inciting subversion of state power”. Already detained for more than two years, Sun did not appear in court as he was "emotionally unstableaccording to the authorities.


On December 28, Zhen Jianghua, the executive director of  Human Rights Campaign in China,  following a secret trial in August, was sentenced to two years in prison by the Zhuhai Court (Guangdong) under the same charge. Arrested in September 2017, Zhen had been cut off from the world for more than six months, detained in a "black jail” under the regime’s "residential surveillance in a designated location" (RSDL).


On the same day, Ding Lingjie, editor of the human rights news website Minsheng Guancha (Civic Rights and Livelihood Watch), was sentenced to 20 months in prison by the Shijingshan District Court in Beijing for sharing a video satire of president Xi Jinping on social networks, and had already been held in pretrial detention for over a year.


"The Chinese authorities have developed the deplorable habit of sentencing the defenders of information during the Christmas season, because they hope to limit the attention from the press and international public opinion”, denounces Cédric Alviani, Director of the East Asia Office of Reporters Without Borders (RSF), which calls on the international community "to increase its pressure on China to release all journalists held in jail”.


On 26 December, 2017, anti-corruption blogger Wu Gan had been sentenced to eight years in prison for "inciting subversion of state power". RSF award winner Liu Xiaobo, who was later awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and died in detention in 2017, was also given his 11-year jail term on December 25, 2009.


China is the largest prison in the world for journalists, with more than 60 individuals behind bars. In the 2018 World Press Freedom Index published by RSF, the country stagnates at 176th out of 180.