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Chinese Web Entrepreneur On Trial

February 9, 2001

SHANGHAI, China (AP) _ A Chinese entrepreneur arrested after articles about the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests appeared on his Web site goes on trial next week for subversion, a court official said Friday.

The June arrest of Huang Qi prompted international protests. A U.S.-based activist group appealed this week for foreign governments to send observers to his trial in the western city of Chengdu.

Huang goes on trial Tuesday in the Chengdu Intermediate People’s Court charged with ``inciting the overthrow of state power,″ according to a court official who identified himself only as Mr. Ling.

The trial is to be open, though judges haven’t decided whether reporters can attend, Ling said.

The case underscores Chinese government efforts to promote the Web for business while blocking its use in spreading criticism of communist rule.

Huang set up his Web site in 1999 to publicize information about missing people. Its name alludes to the June 4, 1989 military action against protesters in Tiananmen Square.

The forum attracted postings about human rights abuses and official corruption, according to the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy. As the 11th anniversary of the crackdown approached, postings called for a reversal of the official condemnation of the 1989 protests as ``counterrevolutionary″ turmoil.

Huang was detained by police June 3, the day before the anniversary.

His indictment says other material on the site mentioned the independence movement in the northwestern Muslim region of Xinjiang and the banned spiritual group Falun Gong, according to New York-based Human Rights Watch.

Human Rights Watch said that Huang was beaten by police on Sept. 25, losing a tooth and suffering a scar on his forehead. The group called on nations that discuss human rights with China to send observers to the trial.


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