Chinese Authorities Release One Writer, Arrest Another

December 8, 2004

Ouyang Yi Released

Reporters Without Borders reported that Chinese authorities have released Ouyang Yi following the completion of his two year sentence. Former teacher Ouyang Yi was detained by the Chengdu Public Security Bureau in December 2002 after he co-authored an open letter with Zhao Changqing to the 16th Party Congress. HRIC reported that the letter requested reassessment of the 1989 Tiananmen democracy protests, restoring Zhao Ziyang’s political rights and releasing him from house arrest, and releasing all prisoners of conscience. The letter was signed by almost 200 people, including Dai Xuezhong, Han Lifa, He Depu, Sang Jiancheng, and Jiang Lijun, who were also subsequently detained. Ouyang Yi was formally arrested in January 2003, tried, in October 2003, and sentenced in March 2004 to two years in prison by the Chengdu Intermediate People's Court for inciting subversion.

Reporters Without Borders note that, although Ouyang Yi is no longer imprisoned, Chinese authorities have banned him from publishing for two years, and he will be under close police supervision.

Shi Tao Detained

The Independent Chinese PEN Center reported that Chinese authorities took one of its members, Shi Tao, into custody at his home in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province. According to PEN, a non-political organization of writers that fights for the protection of freedom of expression and publication, officials from the state security bureau of Changsha, Hunan Province, detained Shi at his home on November 24, 2004, without showing an arrest warrant. PEN also reported that Shi's wife, Wang Yuan, was threatened with possible serious consequence if she revealed Shi's arrest to the media.

Additional details from the PEN report:

  • On December 2, the police of National Security Bureau in Taiyuan showed Shi’s wife an email copy of Criminal Detention Certificate from Changsha, which charged Shi Tao with "suspicion of disclosing state secrets."
  • Shi’s wife asked the police to pass a written note to Shi. However, she was told that Shi was held incommunicado. Shi's whereabouts are still unknown.
  • Shi Tao is 36 years old and has worked as a journalist at a series of newspapers for years. He resigned from his last post at the Dangdai Shang Bao (Modern Trade News) in Changsha in May 2004 and has worked as a freelance journalist and writer in his hometown Taiyuan ever since.
  • In recent years, he has published many essays, including political commentaries criticizing China's social problems on the overseas Chinese language media such as Democracy Forum.