China drops case against blogger

2012-12-14 18:02

Beijing - Chinese prosecutors dropped accusations of inciting subversion against a blogger who published articles online calling for western-style democracy, his lawyer said on Friday, in a rare move by the state.

Chen Pingfu, 55, was charged with "incitement to subversion of state power" by a court in Lanzhou, the capital of China's north-western Gansu province.

His writings included calls for "Western-style democracy" and rebukes of the country's legal system, the state-run Global Times newspaper reported.

"The prosecution withdrew their indictment," Chen's defence lawyer He Huixin told AFP, adding that he was unable to give further comment.

Chen's indictment prompted an outcry by internet users who saw the case as politically motivated, while local media covered it in unusual detail, although some reports were deleted by online censors.

State subversion cases in China tend to result in conviction but a 2010 case against Zuo Xiaohuan, a human rights activist, was dropped in a similar way, although he was detained afterwards.

Chen is a former mathematics and science teacher who fell into debt after paying for heart surgery and became a violin-playing busker on the streets of Lanzhou, the US-based advocacy group Human Rights in China reported.

The Lanzhou intermediate court could not be reached for comment on Friday.