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Chinese bloggers who wrote of gangrape death now face up to 10 years in prison for perjury

More serious charges have been brought against three bloggers and activists who have been held since June 26 in the southwestern China province of Fujian for reporting that a young woman died after being gangraped in February 2008 and that some of the rape participants had links with local officials, according to Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF).

The three detainees – Fan Yanqiong, Wu Huaying and You Jingyou – were originally charged with defamation, which carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison. But the charges were changed on July 31 to “false allegations with intent to harm,” for which the jail term is 3-10 years. They currently being held in the Mawei district prison.

RSF is also worried that, according to Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD), two of the three bloggers, Fan Yanqiong, a cosigner of Charter 08, and Wu Huaying, both women, have been mistreated. CHRD says Wu was handcuffed and interrogated for more than 30 hours while Fan was forced to defecate in her cell and has not received appropriate treatment for her kidney and heart ailments.

Three other bloggers who were arrested for the same reason at the end of June – Chen Huanhui, his wife and Guo Baofeng (also known as Amoiist) – were released by the Mawei police on July 31.

Guo subsequently reported on his blog (how did i broke the jail) that he was released because of a campaign on the Chinese blogosphere. While held, he managed to send a message via Twitter on July 16 saying: “Pls, help me, I grasp the phone during police sleep.”

As a result, Michael Anti, an influential blogger and former New York Times journalist, learnt about his detention and, on July 21, issued an appeal to Internet users to send postcards to his prison with the message: “Guo Baofeng, your mother is calling you home for dinner.” The appeal was so successful that it has since been repeated with other detained dissidents such as Xu Zhiyong and Huang Qi.

Date posted: August 19, 2009 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 351