Now serving a four-year prison sentence for incitement to subvert state power for setting up an independent corruption monitoring group, An Jun is being held in Henan Province No. 1 Prison in Kaifeng City, and has a heart condition for which he is not receiving proper treatment.
An, 46, worked as a cadre at the Xinyang City Supply and Marketing Cooperatives Cotton and Hemp Company in Henan Province. At the beginning of 1998, he set up an independent organization, China Corrupt Activities Observer, which quickly attracted significant support. The group eventually had 300 members in 12 provinces. In a little more than a year, the Observer sent information about close to one hundred corruption cases to the domestic and international media and the letters and visits departments, which are supposed to deal with complaints from the public. In September and October 1998, the group tried to register with the local civil affairs, as national regulations require, but was rejected on the grounds that it was illegal and unnecessary.
On October 14, 1998, An was questioned for six hours by officers of the Political Security Division of the local Public Security Bureau. They asked him about the Observer and its membership, and warned him that prior to registration by civil affairs, the group should not engage in any kind of activities.
Then on July 16, 1999, An was detained by police just hours after his mothers funeral. A month later he was formally arrested on the charge of incitement to subvert state power. His trial opened more than four months after, on November 24, at the Xinyang Intermediate Peoples Court, before an audience of more than 100 people.
The indictment issued by the Xinyang Peoples Procuratorate charged An with conspiring to commit incitement to subvert state power and overthrow the socialist system by means of fabricating rumors and slander and distributing articles that harmed state power, the socialist system and the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party. The indictment cited the following as evidence: An Jun listened to programs on Voice of America and made contact with the station; and he faxed to Gao Hongming, Jiang Qisheng and others four articles he had written. These articles, the indictment stated, attacked Chinas political system as one that imposed rule by force, rule of man and one party dictatorship on the people and had caused China to regress in both economic and social spheres, as well as vilifying the Chinese government as playing the role of the guardian spirit of rule by force and evil power on the international stage.
During the four-hour hearing, Ans lawyer entered a not-guilty plea on his behalf, and An himself also argued in his own defense, concluding with the words, I have exercised to the fullest possible extent the responsibility of a Chinese citizen, and history will certainly evaluate my actions correctly. No verdict was issued at the end of the trial.
It was not until April 19, 2000, that the Xinyang Intermediate Peoples Court announced that it found An Jun guilty as charged, and sentenced him to four years in prison and one years deprivation of political rights. An immediately stated his intention to appeal, and the appeal was filed with the Xinyang Higher Peoples Court on April 21. On August 15, the court rejected his appeal.
Immediately after his detention, An was held in the Henan Province No. 1 Detention Center. On November 21, 2000, he was transferred to Henan Province No. 2 Prison in Xinxiang County. The heart disease from which An suffers has flared up on a number of occasions, but the prison provided no treatment at all, and he has relied solely on help from other prisoners and medicine brought by his family. Both An and his relatives have repeatedly requested that he be released on medical parole, to no avail.
In February of this year, after An Jun refused to write a statement of contrition, he was ordered put into solitary confinement for 15 days. But after a two day hunger strike, he was allowed to return to the regular cells. On March 12, he was transferred to No. 1 Prison in Kaifeng.
Ans sister, An Taorong, has been subjected to harassment because of her efforts to free her brother. She has been called in for questioning twice by the police in Guiyang City, Guizhou Province, where she lives. Last year on August 24, when she was in Shenzhen visiting her son and daughter, the police went to her daughters home early in the morning, conducted a search and took all three of them in for interrogation. When the officers responsible finished their shift at noon, An and her children were held in the detention center for three hours before being allowed to sign a guarantee and leave.