IFJ Questions House Arrest for ‘Freed’ Blogger in China

The International

Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is relieved to learn that blogger Ran Yunfei has

been freed from detention in China,

but is concerned that Ran is now held under house arrest.

 

Ran,

45, the editor of Sichuan Literature magazine,

was released on August 9, after he was detained on February 24 by Sichuan security

officers who alleged he might be involved in “inciting subversion of state

authority”.

 

He

has been ordered to remain under house arrest until February 9, 2012, without explanation.

 

Ran

was initially detained four days after a pro-democracy protest movement known

as the “Chinese jasmine revolution”, in reference to mass protests in the

Middle East and North Africa, began in China on February 20.

 

Ran’s

wife Wang Wei received a formal notice on March 28 that Ran had been charged. While

an Intermediate People’s Court judge rejected the case on June 27 due to insufficient

evidence, Ran continued to be held in custody until August 9.

 

“The

IFJ is pleased to know that Ran has been released by Sichuan authorities, but is disturbed that

he remains confined to house arrest without explanation,” IFJ Asia-Pacific said.

 

“Government

officials have a duty under China’s

Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to explain clearly

to anyone why they are being punished.”

 

The

IFJ urges Public Security Minister Meng Jianzhu to investigate Ran’s case to

assess if there has been an abuse of power and to require that Sichuan authorities explain

why Ran remains under house arrest.

 

According

to a blogger friend, Ran is not permitted to agree to be interviewed by the media.

 

“He

is healthy but has been warned by police not to speak with anyone,” a friend of

Ran said.

 

“We’ve

heard that the government of Sichuan

would like to start a ‘dialogue’, but we don’t exactly know what does that

means.”

Following

the May 2008 earthquake in Wenchuan,

Sichuan Province, commentators

including Ran, Ten Zuoren, Wang Qi and Ai Weiwei questioned why school

buildings had so easily collapsed and demanded authorities investigate and make

their findings public.

 

On

November 23, 2009, Wang Qi was sentenced for three years’ detention for “illegal

possession of a state secret” after he had tried to deliver donations to quake victims.

 

On

February 9, 2010, Ten Zuoren was sentenced to five years’ jail and loss of political

rights for three years on an accusation of “inciting subversion of state power”.

 

Ai

Weiwei was assaulted by local security officers when he tried to attend Ten’s

hearing, and subsequently detained by security officers in Beijing on allegations of tax evasion.

 

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919

 

The IFJ

represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries

 

Find the

IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific

 

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IFJ on Facebook: www.facebook.com/IFJAsiaPacific