Rights Group Reports Zhang Lin Detained for Writings, Attempting to Attend Funeral of Zhao Ziyang
The human rights organization "Reporters Without Borders" (RSF) reported on February 8 that Chinese police have told the wife of pro-democracy activist Zhang Lin that he has been ordered to serve two weeks administrative detention. According to RSF, security authorities arrested Zhang on January 29 in Bengbu, Anhui province, for posting articles on various Web sites.
On January 30, the Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy reported that Zhang Lin and Wang Tingjin had traveled to Beijing on January 27 for the funeral of Zhao Ziyang, but that their request to attend the funeral was rejected by the funeral committee set up by the Chinese Communist Party. ICHRD said that the two were arrested at the Bengbu train station upon their return on January 30, and that, while Wang was released after being detained for five hours, authorities told Zhang he would be detained for 15 days.
According to ICHRD, the 42 year-old Zhang had previously been jailed for eight years for taking part in pro-democracy activities.
8 February 2005
Police arrest cyber-dissident Zhang Lin
Reporters Without Borders today called for the immediately release of pro-democracy activist and cyber-dissident Zhang Lin, who was arrested on 29 January in Bengbu (in Anhui province, west of Shanghai) for posting articles on various websites. Police told his wife he would be detained for two weeks.
"We firmly condemn the harassment of pro-democracy intellectuals that has been taking place since the death of former Prime Minister Zhao Ziyang," the press freedom organization said.
The two weeks of detention imposed on Zhang is an administrative measure often applied in cases of disturbance of the peace. In his case it is clearly intended as a warning that he should stop speaking out and publishing articles.
A dozen policemen searched Zhang's home on 6 February and confiscated his computer. One of the police officers reportedly told his wife that "he will not be treated nicely" if he continued to write.
Zhang is a well-known activist. He often posts his articles on websites linked to the Falun Gong spiritual movement such as Dajiyuan.com and Epochtimes.com, as well as Boxun.com, a website about human rights in China. In an interview a few days before his arrest for the magazine Epoch Times, which was also posted on its website, he described Zhao as a "sincere man" and "unique Chinese leader."
Zhang was imprisoned from 1989 to 1991, and again from 1995 to 1998, when he was sentenced to hard labour. He then left for the United States to pursue his political activities, but reentered China illegally a few months later and was rearrested a third time, at which point he was sent to a labour camp until 2001. In all, he has spent eight years in detention.