[ISN] China Puts Computer Whiz on Trial

From: mea culpa (jerichoat_private)
Date: Sat Dec 05 1998 - 02:21:12 PST

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    Forwarded From: jeradonah lives <jeradonahat_private>
    December 4, 1998
    China Puts Computer Whiz on Trial
    Filed at 2:30 p.m. EST
    By The Associated Press
    SHANGHAI, China (AP) -- China has extended its crackdown on dissent to the
    Internet, putting a computer whiz on trial Friday for giving e-mail
    addresses to an online pro-democracy magazine.
    The case is the first prosecution of its kind in the ruling Communist
    Party's attempt to exploit the Internet commercially while crushing
    attempts to turn it into a forum for dissent.
    Lin Hai, a Shanghai software company owner, is accused of subversion for
    giving addresses for 30,000 Chinese computer users to ``VIP Reference,'' a
    pro-democracy journal published on the Internet by Chinese dissidents in
    the United States.
    Hai, arrested in March, appeared in a closed courtroom Friday with two
    defense lawyers to face the subversion charges. The trial ended after four
    hours, defense lawyer Wang Wenjiang said, adding that the court could take
    a week to issue a verdict. 
    ``I'm afraid it doesn't look good for Lin Hai. I think he's going to be
    found guilty,'' Wang said.
    Lin's wife Xu Hong failed to arrive as planned Friday outside the
    courthouse, leading to fears that she may have been detained by police.
    A man's voice shouted ``Hang up! Hang up!'' when Xu was reached on her
    mobile telephone Friday. After that, the line went dead and was switched
    Outside the court, police and plainclothes officers watched foreign
    reporters, who were not allowed inside the courthouse gate. 
    Reporters also were shooed away from the suburban neighborhood where Xu
    had been staying. When one man was asked whether police had warned
    residents not to talk to reporters, he nodded yes.
    Xu had appealed for an open trial for her husband. She had also written to
    President Jiang Zemin and Premier Zhu Rongji asking for their help, but
    said she received no reply.
    The U.S. Embassy in Beijing expressed concern that the trial was closed
    and urged China to ``fully respect international human rights standards,''
    spokesman Bill Palmer said.
    The group Human Rights in China demanded Lin's release and called the
    trial a ``blatant violation of the right to freedom of expression.''
    Chinese efforts to police the Internet include technology meant to block
    access to sites deemed subversive or pornographic. Service providers are
    required to register all users with the government. 
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