Outcry as Chinese Net dissident arrested

Claims of subversion 'abusive'

A Chinese dissident has been arrested by police after being accused of posting subversive messages on the Internet.

According to official state media, 40-year-old Du Daobin was arrested for "inciting subversion of China's state power and [the] overthrow of China's socialist system" after posting 28 articles on the Net since 2001.

Police from Hubei Provincial Public Security Bureau also said that Du accepted funds from overseas organisations and individuals, and in return helped them post articles "harmful to state security on domestic websites".

But the detention of Du has caused an outcry among civil liberties groups. Earlier this month Reporters Without Borders, which camapaigns for press freedom, launched a petition in support of Du.

They claim Du posted a number of pacifist articles on the Internet supporting democracy and greater freedom of expression in China.

They said he also campaigned for the release of Liu Di, a young student imprisoned for posting messages calling for democracy in China on on-line forums. Liu was released in November last year after more than a year of detention without trial.

"We believe that it is completely abusive to charge people with subversion who have done no more than share their opinions with others on the Internet," said Robert Ménard, secretary general of Reporters Without Borders. ®

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