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Appendix IV: Details of Li Zhi’s case

Li Zhi (李智), a government employee from Da county in Sichuan province, was taken into custody by domestic security police on August 11, 2003, on subversion charges. On December 10 of that same year, Li was convicted by the Dazhou Intermediate People’s Court and sentenced to eight years in prison, with subsequent deprivation of political rights for four years.

Li is alleged to have used free email accounts through and Yahoo! China to make contact with an overseas representative of the outlawed China Democracy Party (CDP) beginning in 2001. Having expressed his agreement with the CDP platform, Li received a membership certificate, which he saved on his computer, and was given responsibility for local organizing activity. Among Li’s alleged recruits was a middle-school student surnamed Ying, to whom he sent CDP documents and instructions for how to join the party.

Li was also charged with using a personal webpage and an anonymous chat room identity to post and repost political articles in which he advocated the election of CDP members to the people’s congresses and other government posts as a means of bringing about a “peaceful evolution” that would lead to seizure of power from the Chinese Communist Party.

Among the items of evidence submitted by the prosecution in Li Zhi’s trial were documents from Beijing SINA Information Technology Co. Ltd. and Yahoo! Holdings (Hong Kong) Ltd. that confirmed Li to be the registered owner of the email accounts used in the case. (According to Li’s lawyer, Yahoo!’s report to police included emails in addition to registration information, although this part of the document was not presented at trial.)

Li appealed the decision of the Dazhou court, claiming that he had only been allowed to meet with his defense attorney shortly before his trial was set to open, making it impossible to develop an adequate defense. In Li’s second trial, acclaimed defense lawyer Zhang Sizhi pointed to evidence from the case file to suggest that Li’s email accounts may have been used by a suspected police informant whom Li befriended after meeting online. Although Li’s attorneys made a vigorous defense in which they raised a number of questions about the prosecution’s use of its electronic evidence, the Sichuan Higher People’s Court decision on February 26, 2004, rejected the defense submission with hardly any comment and upheld the original eight-year verdict.

Li Zhi is currently serving his sentence in Sichuan province’s Chuandong Prison, from which he is due to be released on August 10, 2011.


Defense statement:


Appendix V: Details of Jiang Lijun’s case

Jiang Lijun (姜立军), a heating company employee from Tieling city in Liaoning province, was convicted of subversion by the Beijing No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court and sentenced on November 28, 2003, to four years’ imprisonment with one year additional deprivation of political rights. Twice detained by police in 1988 and 1995 for posting and sending reactionary writings, Jiang became a frequent poster of articles on political subjects to Internet BBS sites. Through Internet chat rooms, Jiang came to know three young people from Beijing: college student Liu Di (whose satirical writings on political subjects Jiang admired), her friend Wu Yiran, and Li Yibing, a mutual acquaintance.

According to the prosecution’s allegations against Jiang, these four shared similar political views in favor of “so-called Western-style democracy” and a multiparty system of government. In meetings with the others, Jiang allegedly raised the idea of organizing a political party known as the “Freedom and Democracy Party” and making a bomb threat against a meeting of the National People’s Congress in Beijing. He directed the others to compose a party program and a political declaration (the latter being authored by Liu and Li), copies of which were recovered from computers and floppy disks owned by Liu and Wu. Also in evidence for the prosecution was user information provided by Yahoo! Holdings (Hong Kong) Ltd. for an email account that had reportedly been used jointly by Jiang and Li. In the draft mail folder of this account was discovered a copy of the same political declaration authored by Liu and Li.

In part because of international pressure following their arrests, Liu, Wu, and Li were all released rather than being prosecuted alongside Jiang. Because of unaccounted-for photographs of the group that were submitted as evidence in Jiang’s trial, and Li Yibing’s mysterious disappearance after being released, at least one member of the group has speculated that Li may have been acting as a police informant or provocateur. This could also help to explain how police were able to access information in the Yahoo! email account.

After being convicted by the Beijing court, Jiang Lijun was transferred back to Liaoning province to serve his sentence. He is due to be released from Jinzhou Prison on November 5, 2006.


Washington Post, December 18, 2004,

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