China jails 3 online activists; many show support

A Chinese court jailed three people Friday who posted material on the Internet to help an illiterate woman pressure authorities to reinvestigate her daughter’s death, one defendant’s lawyer said, in a trial that attracted scores of supporters. The court in southern Fuzhou city found the Internet activists guilty of slander, sentencing to jail self-taught legal expert Fan Yanqiong for two years. Two others, You Jingyou and Wu Huaying, were each handed one-year sentences, said You’s attorney Liu Xiaoyuan, in a phone interview. The court did not name individuals allegedly slandered by the three, saying instead that this was a matter that seriously affected the interest of the state. The three defendants posted information and videos online in a bid to help Lin Xiuying, a woman who believed her daughter died after being gang-raped two years ago by a group of thugs with links to the police in Fujian province’s Mingqin county. Police had ruled that the 25-year-old woman died from an abnormal pregnancy. It is the latest example of Chinese Internet users being targeted for their budding grass-roots activism — ordinary people spreading word of grievances from every corner of the country with postings on Twitter, microblogs and other Web sites


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