Another Chinese Cyber-Dissident Jailed

    March 19, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

Not to brag as much as give thanks:  it’s nice to live in a place where you won’t go to jail for having something to say. "Cyber-dissident" Zhang Jianhong (pen name, Li Hong) can go to jail for it, and is, for six years.

We can also be thankful phrases like "reeducation-through-work camp for counter-revolutionary propaganda" still sound to us like something out of a George Orwell fantasy.

Li Hong had already been to one such camp after the Tiananmen Square incident (incident, as in complete breakdown of humanity) in 1989. Li Hong is heading off to jail this time for writing over 100 articles and publishing them at, of which he was the editor, and at Boxun, and The Epoch Times.

Li Hong was found guilty of "incitement to subvert the state’s authority" as he called for political reform in the articles in question.

“This verdict is sadly yet another example of the judicial system being used by the political authorities,” Reporters Without Borders said. “It is outrageous that cyber-dissidents get severe prison sentences just for the views they express. Yet again, they are being made to pay a heavy price for their commitment."

And, according to Li Hong’s attorney, he was just exercising his freedom of speech guaranteed in China’s constitution. If you’re like me, that statement sounds as odd as saying he found fire in a bucket of water. Who knew China’s constitution had free speech provisions?

Reporters Without Borders has been aggressive about condemning acts of states that suppress free speech, as well as the corporations that participate in them in some way.

Yahoo’s been a major target of RSF (Reporters Sans Frontiers) for its role in helping Chinese authorities discover the identities of dissidents and journalists.

Google, too, has come under fire for allowing China to censor search results in order to do business there.

At some point, it would seem, American companies wishing to do business in China could do more good by putting their corporate feet down than by selling out. China needs their collective business as much as these companies need new markets. So how many human rights violations constitute grounds for not doing business in these markets?

137 imprisoned journalists, 13 dead journalists, and 60 imprisoned cyber-dissidents are not enough, it would seem, to plant the seeds of a conscience. But it is enough to build a case for complicity.