Chinese blogger Wu Gan sentenced to eight years in prison for criticizing corruption within the Communist Party’s ranks.Courtesy photo
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the international community not to forget Wu Gan, a Chinese blogger who was sentenced to eight years in prison exactly a year ago for criticizing corruption within the Communist Party’s ranks.
Wu received the eight-year jail sentence on a charge of “subverting state power” from a court in the northern city of Tianjin Dec. 26, 2017, after 952 days in preventive detention. Banned from receiving family visits until next February, he has reportedly developed hypertension and a heart ailment since his arrest in 2015.
Wu is famous in China for taking up the case of a hotel employee who fatally stabbed a Communist Party official who tried to rape her. He adopted the blog name of “Super Vulgar Butcher” after some of his online critics began calling him that. His Twitter account, which had more than 30,000 political comments, was finally deleted last month along with those of several other Chinese activists.
“As China’s professional journalists are told to serve as the Party’s mouthpieces, the irreverent comments of bloggers such as Wu Gan are needed more than ever to put the official news coverage into perspective,” said Cédric Alviani, head of RSF’s East Asia desk. “The determination with which the government tries to rid the Internet of such comments is the best evidence of their importance.”
Wu was arrested May 19, 2015 in a round-up of more than 200 human rights lawyers and activists. Several members of this group, dubbed “709,” received prison sentences but Wu was given a heavier sentence than anyone else, almost certainly because he refused to plead guilty.