Chinese Authorities Release Farmers' Rights Activist on Bail But Restrict His Activities

March 14, 2005

AFP reports that Chinese authorities have released journalist and farmers’ rights activist Li Boguang, but also have restricted his movements and banned him from advising petitioners. Li had been helping farmers in Fujian province petition the central government over alleged land abuses by local officials. Police detained Li on December 17 and charged him with defrauding the farmers, which he denies. Li reportedly has been released on bail on the condition that he seek permission before leaving Beijing and not contact or give legal advice to farmers or petitioners.

Li is one of numerous advocates and journalists who have been detained or otherwise intimidated since late 2004 in what appears to be a coordinated government campaign to silence public activism and dissent (see related story here). Last week, Shanghai authorities suspended the law license of Guo Guoting, a prominent defense lawyer who had represented journalists and activists in sensitive cases (see related story here). The CECC examined the plight of public intellectuals and activists at a public roundtable on March 10.