No charge for journalist China held for online posts in 2013

AP News
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Posted: Sep 10, 2015 8:43 AM

BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese journalist detained by police two years ago over online speech had his name cleared Thursday when Beijing prosecutors decided not to indict him at all.

Liu Hu, then a reporter for the newspaper New Express, was caught in an aggressive government campaign in 2013 to crack down on online rumors and rein in China's rapid-growing social media.

Unnerved by the new media's potential to usurp the state's power over public discourse, authorities shut down social media accounts that questioned the government's policy and practice. Police detained dozens of people.

Liu was taken away in August 2013 for his whistleblowing posts on senior government officials, a move then seen as a sign that Beijing would not tolerate the public as a watchdog in its anti-graft drive.

On Thursday, Liu said he believed the order to detain him came from a high-level public security official who was a close friend of one of the government officials Liu had accused of possible wrongdoings.

Liu's lawyers argued then the journalist's online speech violated no law and warned of the detention's chilling effects on public speech.

After nearly a year in jail, Liu was released pending trial in August 2014.

He said prosecutors formally notified him Thursday that he will not face any charge. Liu's lawyers confirmed the decision, which had somewhat been expected since Liu's conditional release last year.

Liu said his life had been turned upside down and that he plans to seek state compensation for the tribulations.