RSF urges for release of Chinese political commentator sentenced to three years and six months
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) urges for the release of Chinese political commentator Ou Biaofeng, already detained for two years and who was sentenced on 30 December 2022 to three years and six months in prison for “subversion”.
“As a political commentator, Ou Biaofeng published fact-based essays that allowed the Chinese public to access information on regime's human rights abuses despite heavy censorship. Regime should release him as well as all other press freedom defenders detained in China.
On 30 December 2022, after two years in detention, Chinese political commentator and blogger Ou Biaofeng, 42, was sentenced by a court in the city of Zhuzhou City in Hunan Province (southern China) to three years and six months for “inciting subversion of state power”. Ou was also deprived of his political rights for three years and had 70,000 renminbi (almost 10,000 euros) confiscated, on the pretext that they were an “illegal income” earned from a series of articles critical of the Chinese government published in Apple Daily, Ming Pao and on the website of the civil society organisation Human Rights Campaign in China.
On 3 December 2020, Ou was placed in administrative detention for 15 days for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” and was two weeks later transferred to one of China’s “black prisons,” under the regime of “Residential Surveillance at a Designated Location” (RSDL) in which detainees are deprived of legal representation and unable to communicate with the outside world. On 22 July 2021, Ou was then formally arrested on the charge of “inciting subversion of state power” and moved to the No. 1 Zhuzhou Municipal Detention Center.
Since Chinese leader Xi Jinping took power in 2012, he began a crusade against journalism as shown in RSF’s report The Great Leap Backwards of Journalism in China, which details Beijing’s efforts to control information and media within and outside its borders.
China ranks 175th out of 180 in the 2022 RSF World Press Freedom Index and is the world's largest captor of journalists with at least 111 detained.