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Cyber-dissident Zhang Lin to go on trial for posting articles online, including lyrics to a punk song

(RSF/IFEX) - RSF has protested against the seriousness of charges laid against cyber-dissident Zhang Lin, whose in camera trial is scheduled for 21 June 2005.

"How can posting articles online, including the lyrics of a punk song, constitute a threat to national security? It is absurd!" RSF said.

According to the organisation Human Rights in China (HRIC), the cyber-dissident is facing possible life imprisonment. The charge sheet drawn up by the prosecutor says that the content of the articles posted by Zhang "opposed the basic principles of the Constitution, damaged national unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity, spread falsehoods, disturbed social order and damaged social stability".

The charge quotes the words of a song by the Chinese punk group Pangu, posted online by Zhang.

Zhang was arrested on 29 January at Bengbu station, in Anhui province, west of Shanghai, as he was returning from Beijing, where he went hoping to present his condolences to the family of Zhao Ziyang, a former Communist Party leader who died shortly beforehand.

Zhang is currently being held in Bengbu's Number 1 Detention Centre. RSF is concerned about his state of health and prison conditions. He has undertaken two hunger strikes to protest the ill-treatment he has been suffering.

Zhang's lawyer, Mo Shaoping, has not been allowed to visit him, and the court rejected his request for a public trial.

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