Monday, April 19, 2010

Three internet activists jailed in China; hundreds protest courthouse Apr 19 2010

A Chinese court jailed three people on Friday (16th) who posted material
on the Internet to help a woman pressure authorities which she accused of
covering up her daughter's death, in a trial that attracted scores of

The court in southern Fuzhou city found the Internet activists guilty of
slander, sentencing to jail self-taught legal expert Fan Yanqiong for two
years. Two others, You Jingyou and Wu Huaying, were each handed one-year
sentences. The court did not name individuals allegedly slandered by the
three, saying instead that this was a matter that seriously affected the
interest of the state.

The three defendants posted information and videos online in a bid to help
Lin Xiuying, a woman who believed her daughter died after being gang-raped
two years ago by a group of thugs with links to the police in Fujian
province's Mingqin county. Police had ruled that the 25-year-old woman
died from an abnormal pregnancy.

It is the latest example of Chinese Internet users being targeted for
their budding grass-roots activism — ordinary people spreading word of
grievances from every corner of the country with postings on Twitter,
microblogs and other Web sites.

The trial prompted at least several hundred Internet users from around
China and other people to travel to the Mawei District People's Court
Friday in a show of support, waving banners and singing songs, people at
the scene said. Some bloggers at the scene estimated up to 2,000 people
turned up.

Many of them provided "live" coverage of the courthouse demonstrations by
posting messages on Twitter from their mobile phones, updated every few
minutes. Bloggers who were unable to attend forwarded the Twitter postings
to their own readers, adding messages of support and advice for staying
out of trouble with police, who had set up cordons and were stationed
around the supporters.

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