RWB calls for immediate and unconditional release of journalist Sun Lin

Reporters Without Borders calls for the immediate release of Sun Lin, a journalist for the foreign-based Mandarin-language news website Boxun, who was arrested on 16 April. Sun, better known by the pen name Jie Mu, was held under administrative detention for distributing video footage of a protest over the expulsion of a dissident’s daughter from school.

He was originally supposed to be held for 10 days but his detention may be extended until 30 April and reclassified as criminal custody. The police were reported to have accused him of “creating a bad impression abroad”.

“Sun Lin is well-known for his professionalism,” Reporters Without Borders said. “He is in regular contact with Reporters Without Borders and has provided us with high-quality and objective information. The fact of his arrest is as nonsensical as the reasons given by the authorities.

“All he did was report on the police harassment to which a pro-democracy dissident and his daughter were subjected. If the Chinese authorities care that much about their image, for a start they should refrain from victimizing a schoolgirl.

“We demand Sun Lin’s immediate and unconditional release.”

The dissident Zhang Lin was summoned by the police in Hefei on 27 February and his 10-year-old daughter was expelled from her school. A support committee was set up to call for her re-admission. On 16 April, about 40 protesters were arrested outside the school.

Sun Lin’s wife, Gao Xiaojun, was quoted on the Radio Free Asia website as saying: "They will probably change his status to criminal detention on April 30 (…) His reporting has been having an impact for many years now."

One of his lawyers, Sun Muqing, said Sun Lin had been beaten by the police. He had not been informed of the charges against him and had refused to sign the custody sheet.

In 2008, a court in the eastern city of Nanjing sentenced Sun Lin to four years’ imprisonment for "gathering crowds to cause social unrest" and "illegal possession of firearms". At the time he told Reporters Without Borders that he had written about abuses of authority.