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Document 11 of 11.

Copyright 1998 Deutsche Presse-Agentur  
Deutsche Presse-Agentur

July 29, 1998, Wednesday, BC Cycle 
03:15 Central European Time

SECTION: International News

LENGTH: 323 words

HEADLINE: China Internet user indicted on charges of subversion



In an unprecedented action, Chinese authorities have indicted the manager of a computer software company in China's largest city of Shanghai on charges of subversion for offering tens of thousands of mainland e-mail addresses to an American firm, a Hong Kong-based human rights group said on Wednesday.

Lin Hai, 30, a graduate of Beijing Aerospace University's computer department, was taken away from his home by Public Security Bureau agents in March.

In April, Lin was formally arrested and charged with trying to overthrow China's communist-led government for offering 30,000 e-mail addresses to a pro-democratic Internet reference guide based in the United States, the Information Centre of Human Rights and Democratic Movement in China said.

The Shanghai Municipal Procuratorate has already handed down the indictment on Lin and he is expected to stand trial at the Shanghai Intermediate People's Court in the near future.

Lin's wife told the centre that her husband had already engaged a lawyer to plead his case.

It is the first time a mainland Chinese user of the Internet has been charged with a political offence. If convicted of subversion, he faces at least 10 years in prison. The maximum penalty for such a crime is the death sentence.

"This kind of thing can only happen in a place like China," said Frank Lu Siqing, founder and spokesman of the Hong Kong rights group.

China now has more than 1 million people using the Internet and maintains strict control of e-mail accounts using various methods, he said.

Shanghai authorities employed 150 computer specialists to assist the Public Security Bureau in its screening of the Internet soon after U.S. President Bill Clinton concluded his nine-day visit to China earlier this month.

Police have already denied many people access to the Internet or have confiscated their computers, the group said, without giving details. dpa mi wp


LOAD-DATE: July 29, 1998

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