BEIJING | Fifteen years of imprisonment: a chinese blogger, former journalist with the official press, has been punished with a heavy penalty, especially for items that have “attacked and denigrated” the communist Party in power.
The award seems to be one of the heaviest fines imposed on a critique of power by the regime of president Xi Jinping, who has been the subject of accusations previously unseen in the beginning of the year for his handling of the epidemic COVID-19.
Chen Jieren, a former employee of the very official People’s Daily, was sentenced on Thursday by the people’s court of the county of Guiyang, in Hunan province (centre), announced the court in a press release published online.
The journalist has been “convicted” for the crime of provocation to unrest, extortion, illegal trade and corruption”, according to the court, which also imposed a hefty fine of 7 million yuan (1.39 million dollars).
In reasoning, the court declared that since 2015, the condemned had circulated on social networks of “false information” for the purpose of receiving by extortion of funds to persons involved in their articles.
He was also “attacked and denigrated the Party and government, judicial organs and their staff”, according to the court.
He was sentenced alongside two other accused. Justice published a photograph of the trial showing the three accused-coated clothing and protective gloves, even the police officers at their sides.
From abroad, the association Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) has called on Beijing to immediately release the journalist.
The sentence appears to be a record, in the opinion of this association. It is heavier than the 12 years of prison inflicted last year to Huang Qi, founder of a website specialized in the business of human rights.
According to a press release of CHRD, Chen Jieren, with several of his relatives, had been arrested in the summer of 2018 a short time after the broadcast on its website of articles alleging corruption by local officials.
According to the same source, the journalist had previously worked at the Daily life of the youth, the Daily life of Beijing and until 2011 the to, the organ of the party in power. As many publications in which he has been sent back for articles critical of the regime.
“The heavy sentence imposed on Mr. Chen address a clear warning to bloggers and independent citizen journalists,” said CHRD.
The conviction of Mr. Chen comes at a time when the communist regime appears to have strengthened its stranglehold on the information in the framework of the combat against the sars coronavirus.
The chinese authorities has been the subject of criticism unprecedented on the social networks following the death in early February of dr. Li Wenliang, a doctor from Wuhan, who had been alerted of the close to the end of December after the emergence of the new coronavirus in this city in the centre of the country. He had been summoned by the police and accused of spreading rumors.
Since then, three bloggers have been detained in Beijing for having archived documents that were censored on the epidemic, according to their loved ones.
Chen Mei, Cai Wei and his partner named Tang, who collaborated to a project of archiving baptized Terminus2049, have been missing since April 19, said Monday to AFP the brother of Chen Mei. The last two are being prosecuted for incitement to unrest, the authorities have indicated to Beijing with their family.
A citizen journalist, Chen Qiushi, which has released online videos were very popular on the chaos in the hospitals of Wuhan, has disappeared in the beginning of February, according to Reporters without borders (RSF) who fears his arrest.
According to the organisation, China has become the 177th largest in the world at 180 in the ranking of freedom of the press. More than a hundred bloggers and journalists are being held in the country, according to the same source.
The most severe sentence imposed on a political dissident since the coming to power of president Xi Jinping the end of 2012 seems to have been pronounced against the writer and activist Qin Yongmin, who was sentenced in 2018 for “subversion” to 13 years in prison.