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Cyber-dissident begins third week in detention, another faces trial for subversion

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders has called for the release of cyber-dissident and pro-democracy activist Deng Yongliang, who was arrested on 18 August 2006 as he was travelling to Yinan, in the eastern province of Shandong, to cover the trial of the dissident lawyer Chen Guangcheng. The organisation also called for the release of Guo Qizhen, a cyber-dissident who is due to be tried for "subverting state authority" on 12 September in Cangzhou, in the central province of Hebei.

"All these two men have done is exercise their right to free expression, which is recognised by the Chinese constitution," Reporters Without Borders said. "The charge of subversion, which is frequently used against cyber-dissidents, is a legal aberration."

Deng often writes articles for the Boxun website ( http://www.boxun.com/ ) and hosts a chat forum on 64Tianwang ( http://www.64tianwang.com/ ), another website, which said he had planned to write an online article about the Chen trial. Chen, who is blind, was sentenced to four years and three months in prison for criticising birth control abuses.

Following his arrest on 18 August, Deng was locked up in a hotel in Yinan and then transferred to Xi'an, in the central province of Shaanxi, where he is currently being held at the Beilin district Public Security Bureau and has just begun his third week in detention. His wife, Zhu Yuling, said she had not been allowed to see him, but the security services told her he was fine, that she should not worry and that she did not need to come back to see him.

A cyber-dissident specialised in corruption issues, Guo is being prosecuted for writing articles critical of the government on foreign websites. His arrest was also linked to his participation in a rotating hunger strike, in which activists take turns to fast for 24 hours in protest against human rights violations. It was Guo's turn to fast when he was arrested on 12 May.

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