MONTREAL, June 30 /CNW Telbec/ - Reporters Without Borders condemns the
four-year prison sentence that a court in the eastern city of Nanjing imposed
on Sun Lin, a journalist better known by the pen-name Jie Mu, on 27 June. A
contributor to the overseas Chinese news website Boxun, Sun was convicted of
"gathering crowds to cause social unrest" and "illegal possession of
firearms." His wife, He Fang, who also contributes to Boxun, was released
after being given a suspended prison sentence.
"Two well-known news website contributors have been given jail terms
after an investigation marked by mendacious allegations and a trial marred by
irregularities," Reporters Without Borders said. "This is yet another tragic
example of the government's inability to tolerate journalists who dare to
report news freely, without constraint or censorship."
The press freedom organisation calls for the release of Sun and the one
hundred other journalists, cyber-dissidents and press freedom activists
currently held in China.
The verdict was issued in a hearing held in the absence of Sun's family
and lawyer as they had not been told it was going to take place. Sun's lawyer,
Mo Shaoping, told a Radio Free Asia journalist: "Under the code of criminal
procedure, the court should wait three days after announcing a hearing. And a
court should issue its verdict publicly. This court violated both principles."
Mo hopes to see his client in the next few days to discuss an appeal.
Boxun issued a statement saying Sun had been punished for his work as a
citizen journalist, above all for his video reports.
Sun, who along with his wife had been held in Nanjing since 30 May 2007,
has always denied the two charges. He told his lawyer that the police mainly
questioned him about his journalistic activities and told him he had been
arrested for refusing to stop reporting and writing articles for Boxun.
Sun said the firearms charge was based on false statements by persons who
claimed that he gave them air pistols. He does not even know one of these
persons. He added that the charge of disturbing the peace was based on an
incident in 2004 when he was trying to help evicted people and did nothing
Sun, who also founded the now-banned newspaper Da Du Shi, told Reporters
Without Borders before his arrest that he had written articles about abuse of
authority but had never done anything illegal.
For further information:
For further information: Katherine Borlongan, secretary general,
Reporters Without Borders, (514) 521-4111, Cell: (514) 258-4188, Fax: (514)