Jailed Chinese blogger not freed despite appeal
Summary of story from The Telegraph, October 20, 2011
A female Chinese blogger, Wang Lihong, 55, who was arrested and jailed for nine months for “disrupting the traffic” (see WVoN coverage) has failed to get her sentence overturned on appeal.
Lihong was previously a little-known activist but in recent years she attracted a sizeable online following for her work publicizing injustices, land grabs and corruption by local government officials.
She was arrested last April as China’s government mounted a clampdown on activists, lawyers and bloggers in the wake of the Arab Spring uprisings.
Analysts say her case, which was brought to wider attention by the artist Ai Weiwei, who was himself detained without charge for 81 days earlier this year, hints at growing nervousness among China’s security apparatus at the power of the internet to magnify dissent.
The entire Chinese internet is subject to censorship, but there have been mounting examples this year where the online censors have been totally overwhelmed by the sheer speed at which online outcries have developed.
Buffeted by increasingly hostile and tempestuous online opinions, China’s leadership has signaled its intention to introduce stricter controls, restricting the use of pseudonyms and promising jail sentences for those caught spreading rumors.
Rights groups say that Wang Lihong’s treatment is indicative of a wider determination by the Chinese authorities to stamp out rising grassroots activism.