Two HK journalists jailed in Shenzhen

Top News | Phoenix Un 27 Jul 2016

Two Hong Kong journalists on political affairs magazines were jailed in Shenzhen yesterday for operating an illegal business, the same charge that landed five booksellers from Causeway Bay Books in trouble last year.

New-Way Monthly and Multiple Face publisher Wang Jianmin, 62, was jailed for five years and three months and fined 200,000 yuan (HK$232,500), while editor-in-chief Guo Zhongxiao, 40, was sentenced to two years and three months and fined 50,000 yuan.

The two Hong Kong permanent residents had pleaded guilty in Shenzhen's Nanshan District Court last year, and both have been in custody for two years and two months.

The two, who were originally from the mainland, were accused of posting the two magazines, which are not registered in China, to mainland readers.

Wang's wife Xu Zhongyun was also sentenced to one year - but suspended for two years - as she sent the magazines to mainland customers for her husband.

Liu Haitao, assistant editor of the magazines, was sentenced to two years' imprisonment, suspended for three years.

All four abandoned their right to appeal.

Both Wang and Guo worked for Yazhou Zhoukan, a magazine in Hong Kong. Wang was senior correspondent and Guo senior editor.

Wang left in 2007 and established New-Way Monthly in 2010. Guo left Yazhou and joined Wang soon after. Wang started Multiple Face two years later.

Guo's lawyer, Xia Qianhai, said his client would be released next month since the pair were arrested in May 2014. Wang would be released in August 2019.

Wang and Guo are Hong Kong ID card holders but were living in Shenzhen when they were nabbed.

Prosecutors said that their company, National Affairs Limited, which was registered in Hong Kong, had earned HK$7 million through the publication of two magazines, with mainland readers accounting for 66,000 yuan (HK$80,600) in total revenue.

But the defense said the publications were printed in Hong Kong and copies were sent to only eight people in the mainland, all friends of the publisher.

Guo's lawyer Xia said the prosecution originally recommended at least five years in jail for his client.

"It was reduced because the judge accepted that Guo was only an accomplice, not the mastermind," he said.

Wang and Guo were said to have offended some factions in the Communist Party by revealing secrets within the regime.

New-Way Magazine ran exclusive reports in February 2012 that Liu Lefei - the son of the then-head of the party's central propaganda department, Liu Yunshan - had allegedly abused his father's power and took tens of billions of yuan.

Liu was former vice chairman of CITIC Securities.

Mighty Current publishing house's co-owner, Gui Minhai - one of the five Hong Kong booksellers who went missing last year - has been accused of running an illegal business in the mainland by ordering his associates to deliver about 4,000 books banned in the mainland across the border since October 2014.

Gui and all of his four associates, including Lam Wing-kee, have confessed to their role in the illegal business on state media.

But Lam turned up in Hong Kong last month and said he was forced to make those confessions.

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