Chinese Authorities Free Journalist Cheng Yizhong

September 20, 2004

The Washington Post reports that Chinese authorities on Friday released Cheng Yizhong, former editor of the Southern Metropolitan Daily, a pioneering newspaper in Guangdong. The report stated that Xu Zhiyong, Cheng's lawyer, said in a statement: "We hope all those officials who defy the progress of time and, for their own selfish interests, try to suppress freedom of speech and social conscience have learned a lesson. . . . We hope they won't manufacture absurd cases of injustice again. We hope they won't damage China's image again."

The Post article cites Party sources as saying that the charge was initiated in retaliation for the Southern Metropolitan Daily's "aggressive reporting."

Yu Huafeng and Li Minying, two senior managers with the Southern Metropolitan Daily's publisher who were arrrested at about the same time as Cheng, are currently serving prison sentences of 8 and 6 years, respectively.