Young Internet user Liu Di released on bail
(Dec. 01, 2003) China has freed Internet user Liu Di on bail. Her family confirmed to Reporters Without Borders that police released her from secret detention on 28 November and that she had returned to her home in Beijing. The 23-year-old student had been detained in secret since November 2002 after she posted messages on online discussion forums under the pseudonym "stainless steel mouse". Two other cyberdissidents Wu Yiran, 34, and Li Yibin, 29, were also freed the same day.
At least two people have been imprisoned for protesting online about Liu Di's detention without trial. During 2003, hundreds of Chinese people took the risk of signing an online petition calling for her release. (博讯boxun.com)
Reporters Without Borders welcomed the releases. The international press freedom organisation however pointed out that more than 40 cybersdissidents remained in jail in China for posting messages on the Internet that were critical of the authorities. In November alone, eight of them were sentenced to jail terms ranging from three to ten years."The Chinese government is making a positive gesture towards the international community," said Robert Ménard, secretary-general of Reporters Without Borders. "However we condemn the hypocrisy of the Chinese justice system, which acts for the sake of appearances for diplomatic reasons, but continues to crack down on freedom of expression on the Internet on a daily basis.
These releases come three days ahead of German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's visit to China and one week before Chinese prime minister Wen Jiabao travels to the United States. The German government recently expressed its concern at China's curbs on freedom of expression on the Internet.