Laws Imprisoning Chinese Writers

The following are the two Chinese laws most commonly used to silence writers, journalists and cyberdissidents through criminal convictions:

1. ‘Incitement of subversion of State power’ (Article 105.2 of the PRC Criminal Law) 

Article 105.2. ‘Whoever instigates the subversion of the political power of the State and overthrow the socialist system through spreading rumors, slandering, or other ways are to be sentenced to not more than five years of fixed-term imprisonment, criminal detention, control, or deprivation of political rights; the ringleaders and those whose crimes are grave are to be sentenced to not less than five years of fixed-term imprisonment.’

105.2 turns on interpretation of what constitutes ‘subversion’, but more specifically targets speech: ‘spreading rumours’ (otherwise known as sending an email or text message), ‘slandering’, etc. 

2. ‘Revealing State secrets abroad’ (Article 111 of the PRC Criminal Law)

Article 111. ‘Whoever steals, secretly gathers, purchases, or illegally provides State secrets or intelligence for an organization, institution, or personnel outside the country is to be sentenced from not less than five years to not more than 10 years of fixed-term imprisonment; when circumstances are particularly serious, he is to be sentenced to not less than 10 years of fixed- term imprisonment, or life sentence; and when circumstances are relatively minor, he is to be sentenced to not more than five years of fixed-term imprisonment, criminal detention, control, or deprivation of political rights.’ 

Application of 111 turns on interpretation of what is a State secret. In China, a huge array of information can be interepreted as a State secret, allowing the police and the courts an extraordinary leeway in applying it.


 

Originally posted with the url: www.englishpen.org/writersinprison/campaigns/chinacampaign/lawsimprisoningwriters/

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