Two Hong Kong journalists sentenced in Shenzhen for publishing gossip about Chinese leaders
The publisher Wang Jianming and editor Guo Zhongxiao sentenced to five years and three months and two years and three months. The episode brings to mind the disappearances and detentions of the five book publishers. Beijing fears Hong Kong freedoms can "pollute" Chinese society. The principle "one nation, two systems" belittled.
Hong Kong (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Two Hong Kong journalists were sentenced yesterday by a court in Shenzhen (China) for "illegal trade" of newspapers. Publisher Wang Jianming, 60, (see photos), and editor Guo Zhongxiao, 41, who worked in the magazine "New-Way Monthly" and "Multiple Face", which published topics of politics and gossip and curiosity about Chinese leaders. The articles were published in Hong Kong, but some copies were marketed in China.
Wang was sentenced to five years and three months in prison; Guo to two years and three months. The latter will be released soon because both had been arrested in 2014, while they were in Shenzhen. Since then the two newspapers have been closed.
For the Association of Hong Kong Reporters the ruling is another blow to press freedom in the territory.
Yesterday's ruling follows the story of the five publishers-booksellers in Hong Kong who were kidnapped by Chinese special forces and who then disappeared, detained in China. One of them is still in prison; others were freed after "confessing" their crimes on video and have vowed that they would not denounce anyone. Even these publishers were publishing books that were satires or were critical of some aspects of the lives of Chinese leaders.
According to the Court of Shenzhen, Wang and Guo illegally profited by selling thousands of copies of their newspapers; according to the defense lawyers they only eight copies had been distributed in China to friends and acquaintances.
The court sentenced the two without even specifying the amount earned by their "illegal trade." According to the defense lawyers they had earned less than $ 66 thousand Hong Kong (about 7600 euro): less than half of the minimum amount required in China to be accused of "illegal trade (150 thousand yuan).
China fears that the freedoms of Hong Kong will "pollute" society on the mainland and is increasing control of the media in the territory, in breach of the principle "one country, two systems," under which Hong Kong would be entitled to a lifestyle different from that of the motherland.