Writer Chen Shaowen Released Following Completion of Sentence

August 10, 2005

Chinese authorities released writer Chen Shaowen on August 5, following the completion of his three-year sentence for inciting subversion, the Independent Chinese Pen Center (ICPC) reported on August 8. The ICPC reported that they were able to contact Chen by phone, but that he was not willing to discuss matters relating to his imprisonment. The report said that Chen's health had been deteriorating during his time in prison, and that police guards had beaten him in May 2005.

According to the ICPC, in 2001 Chen became a columnist for the "Pacific Times" in the United States, and published 48 articles. The Dalian public security bureau detained Chen on August 6, 2002, and formally arrested him on September 11, 2002, on charges of inciting subversion. On December 25, 2002, the lower people's court in Luodi municipality in Hunan province tried Chen in secret. The Luodi municipal procuratorate accused Chen of inciting subversion of the national regime based on over 40 essays they said he published on the Internet criticizing unemployment, social injustice, and abuses in the legal system. The ICPC reported that the procuratorate's charges against Chen included "concocting, distorting, and exaggerating relevant facts, and insulting and attacking the Chinese Communist Party and the Socialist system." On February 25, 2003, the court sentenced Chen to five years imprisonment and one year deprivation of political rights. On August 18, 2003, the Hunan province higher people's court rejected Chen's appeal, but ruled that his punishment was too severe, and reduced his sentence to three years imprisonment and one year deprivation of political rights.