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For Attacks on the Internet in China and Chinese individuals currently detained for online political or religious activity
see the Digital Freedom Network pages

Important Update - Message from Lin Hai
February, 2001

It is Lin Hai, the Chinese net engineer once be helped by yours kind org. see http://www.cyber-rights.org/freelin.htm I am writing to you to say my true thanks to all staffs of Cyber-Rights &Cyber-Liberties. We did hear your great voice in far China. What you did is really valuble in some parts of the world where people seeking freedom hardly.

I would like to add a link to yours web address on my website http://freechina.com  let me know if i can do it. (your URL http://www.cyber-rights.org/) Meantime i am in New York city, thinking my future. I have nature interest in doing something for digital freedom. If you have anything related which I can do, please contact me via email as well as voice phone.


Lin Hai, webmaster@freechina.com 

Lin was quietly released in September 1999 in exchange for his silence. Richard Long of VIP Reference believes the U.S. Embassy in China played a role in persuading Chinese officials to release Lin early.

Free Speech and Scientific Groups Announce Campaign to Free Jailed Chinese Scientists

10 December, 1998

See also the Action Alert related to this press release


UPDATE, 21 January 1999

Lin Hai was sentenced to two years in prison on January 20, 1999 for providing 30,000 Chinese e-mail addresses to VIP Reference, a pro-democracy newsletter that distributes reports on dissident activities, human rights, and other issues to more than 250,000 e-mail addresses in China. A three-judge panel of the Shanghai Intermediate People's Court said Lin deserved to be ``punished harshly,'' according to a copy of the verdict obtained by the Hong Kong-based Information Center of Human Rights and Democratic Movement in China. Human Rights Watch-Asia called on Microsoft, America Online and other computer and software companies to publicly condemn the sentence.

Wang Youcai, a leader of the 1989 pro-democracy demonstrations, was sentenced on December 21, 1998 to 11 years in prison on charges related to his work to form a peaceful opposition party called the China Democratic Party. The charges against Wang include sending e-mail messages to dissidents in the U.S. Subversion is among China's most serious crimes and is normally used against political dissidents.

Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) Press Release, 10 December, 1998

Broad Coalition Urges People to Send Email Protest Letters to Chinese Officials

HACKENSACK, N.J., December 10, 1998 - On the fiftieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a coalition of 13 free speech and scientific organizations launched an email campaign on behalf of two jailed Chinese scientists charged with using the Internet to promote democracy.

Lin Hai, a Shanghai software engineer, was arrested in March after sending 30,000 Chinese email addresses to VIP Reference, an Internet pro-democracy newsletter. Wang Youcai, a Chinese physicist and dissident, was arrested last month on several charges, including trying to form an opposition party and emailing its documents to dissidents.

"We wanted to use the Internet to defend Lin Hai and Wang Youcai since they are being punished for sending email. This campaign helps the global Internet community to protect free speech around the world," said Bobson Wong, executive director of the Digital Freedom Network.

"We are outraged by the recent wave of repression highlighted by the detention of Lin Hai, Wang Youcai, and other peaceful dissidents. China's signing of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights two months ago was an empty gesture," said Xiao Qiang, executive director of Human Rights in China.

An action alert is freely available on each organization's Web site, urging people to send email messages to Chinese media and government organizations calling for Lin and Wang's release. The alert points out that their arrests are "serious violations of international human rights standards enumerated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights."

"As in traditional letter writing campaigns, the greater the level of participation we can generate, the greater the impact. We therefore, urge other organizations to post the alert on their Web sites or to send it to their subscribers," said Audrey Chapman, Director of the Science and Human Rights Program of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

"Since Usenet newsgroups have never been developed in China, Web-based forums are heavily censored. By sending email messages to the Chinese media and government, people can let China know that they are concerned," said Richard Long, editor at VIP Reference.

"The Internet is already proving to be a very powerful tool for dissidents in China and around the globe," said Barry Steinhardt, executive director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "The Chinese government has recognized the threat that it poses to their dictatorial rules and has adopted the most repressive rules about Internet use in the world."

"We are at a time in which human rights abuses come to light consequent upon the development of global communications tools," said Yaman Akdeniz, director of Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK). "China and other authoritarian regimes will not be able to hide their human rights abuses anymore. We are here to support Lin Hai and it is time for the Chinese government to encourage the use of the Internet for its citizens rather than restrict its usage and punish dissent."

Lin Hai was arrested on March 25, 1998, and charged with "inciting to overthrow state power" for providing 30,000 Chinese email addresses to VIP Reference. Based in the U.S., VIP Reference distributes reports on dissident activities, human rights, and other issues to more than 250,000 email addresses in China. Wang Youcai, a leader of the 1989 pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square and a co-founder of the opposition group China Democracy Party, is scheduled to go on trial on December 17 in the Hangzhou Intermediate Court. The charges include "inciting the overthrow of state power" and emailing his organization's documents to dissidents overseas.

See also the Action Alert related to this press release


American Association for the Advancement of Science's Science and Human Rights Program
Elisa Muņoz
(1-202) 326-6797

Association for Computing Machinery
Chris Morgan
(1-212) 869-7440

Center for Democracy and Technology
Jim Dempsey
(1-202) 637-9800 x112

Committee of Concerned Scientists
Dorothy Hirsch
(1-718) 229-2813

Committee on the International Freedom of Scientists of the American Physical Society
Michelle Irwin
(1-301) 209-3200 x3237

Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK)
Yaman Akdeniz
(44-113) 2335033

Derechos Human Rights

Digital Freedom Network
Bobson Wong
(1-201) 928-4378

Electronic Frontier Foundation
Alex Fowler
(1-415) 436-9333 x103

Electronic Privacy Information Center
Dave Banisar
(1-202) 544-9240

Human Rights in China
Xiao Qiang
(1-212) 239-4495

New York Academy of Sciences' Committee on Human Rights
Svetlana Stone
(1-212) 838-0230

VIP Reference
Richard Long
(1-202) 296-5183

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