Guangdong Authorities Jail Another Newspaper Editor on Corruption Charges

September 14, 2004

Reuters reports that a court in Guangdong province has sentenced Li Yuanjiang, former editor-in-chief of the Guangzhou Daily newspaper, to twelve years in prison for accepting more than $60,000 in bribes over a period of nearly ten years.

Li's sentence comes on the heels of the release of Cheng Yizhong, a former editor of the Guangdong-based Southern Metropolitan Daily, whom Chinese authorities held for more than five months without charge. Citing journalists in Beijing, Reuters reports that Cheng is now virtually under house arrest.

Li Minying and Yu Huafeng, two of Cheng's colleagues at the Southern Metropolitan Daily and its parent company, The Southern Group, were sentenced in March to jail terms of 12 and 11 years respectively (reduced on appeal to 8 and 6 years).

While legal scholars in China have argued that Guangdong provincial officials trumped-up the charges against Cheng, Yu, and Li Minying to punish them for publishing critical and embarrassing news articles, the Reuters report questioned whether Li Yuanjiang's case fit into the same pattern, as the Guangzhou Daily is known for entertainment and society news, not investigative reporting. On March 10, 2004 a Guangdong court also sentenced He Xiangqin, editor-in-chief of the Guangzhou Daily, to four years in prison for taking bribes.