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Copyright 1998 South China Morning Post Ltd.  
South China Morning Post

July 30, 1998


LENGTH: 327 words

HEADLINE: Subversion charge laid over e-mail addresses



A Shanghai-based businessman has been charged with subversion for passing on e -mail addresses to overseas dissidents, according to a human rights group.

Software company owner Lin Hai would be tried soon in the city's Intermediate Court, accused of providing Dacankao (Large Reference) magazine with 30,000 e -mail addresses, the Information Centre of Human Rights and Democracy Movement in China said yesterday. Dacankao is an online magazine run by US-based dissidents.

While the authorities harass dissidents for using the Internet to further their causes, the case is the first known example of charges being brought against an individual for political use of the Internet.

Lin, 30, who runs Shanghai Zhengfang Software, was detained on March 25 and formally arrested on April 30, the Hong Kong-based centre said. If convicted of a charge of "instigation to subversion of the state's power", he could face the death penalty or a minimum 10 years in jail. Lin's wife, Xu Hong, said he was being kept in Shanghai's public security detention centre. A lawyer had been hired for his defence.

The e-mail addresses originally were collected for advertising purposes. They were passed on to the dissidents when they did not generate as much interest as expected from advertisers.

Centre spokesman Lu Siqing said Lin, who graduated from the Department of Computer Science at the Beijing University of Aeronautic Technology, had no previous known connections to the pro-democracy movement.

The publishers of Tunnel, a weekly online magazine featuring dissident writings, had been arrested in Jiangxi province, said the US-based Chinese Democratic Party. The party's web site and other pro-democracy online publications were recently wiped out by police computer programs, the party said.

More than one million mainlanders surf the Internet. The Government has employed various means to block hostile e-mail getting into the country.


LOAD-DATE: July 31, 1998

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