China: Journalist Zhao Yan released

English PEN welcomes the release of journalist Zhao Yan on 15 September 2007, after completing a three-year prison sentence for his writings.

Zhao Yan, news assistant at the Beijing bureau of the New York Times and former reporter for China Reform magazine, was arrested on 17 September 2004 and charged with “providing state secrets to foreigners”. He was charged for an article published in the New York Times on 7 September 2004 revealing Jiang Zemin’s retirement from the position of Chairman of the Central Military Commission and the transfer of leadership to President Hu Jintao. The article preceded the official announcement about Jiang’s retirement, which was made on 19 September 2004. The New York Times said that Zhao had no involvement whatsoever in the article. Although the charges against Zhao were dropped in March 2006, weeks ahead of President Hu Jintao’s visit to the United States, they were reinstated in May 2006 when he was convicted of defrauding an official of $2,500 – a charge he has always denied.

For further information, see the BBC article:

Thank you to all who sent appeals on this case.

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