Du Daobin is one of the earliest cyber dissident writers in China. By the time of his detention in October 2003, he had published tens of articles on the internet at home and abroad. In June 2004 he was charged with “inciting to subvert state power” and sentenced to 3 years’ imprisonment. Instead of serving his prison sentence immediately, it was postponed while he spent 4 years under probation. In June of 2008, on the eve of the Summer Olympics to be held in China, the authorities accused Du of disobeying the rules of probation, as he had continued to write articles critical of the regime. Thus, after four years of probation, Mr. Du was sent to serve his 3-year prison term. While in prison, he was subjected to physical and psychological torture and was held under the most stringent control. He was forced to sit on a low bench for two months, which led to cardiac prolapse. After this incident, due to malnutrition and potassium deficiency, he lost his ability to walk and for a long time he was dependent on a wheelchair. Although today he is free and able to walk, Du remains under close watch. Who is this man that China views as such a threat, and what is it about his writings that has the government so nervous?
Du Daobin was born in Wuhan, Hubei Province in 1964. Formerly an employee of the district government, Du was a firm believer of communism. He read the works of Marx, Lenin, and Mao Zedong and took up writing poetry. After the tragic events of the 1989 protests, Du sympathized with the students and strongly opposed the killing that occurred. Before officially becoming a Party member, he retracted his application. He began to write works in support of the democracy movement and since 1997 he has been exploring the ideas of liberalism and promoting China's path to democracy. Originally a supporter of the movement, as Du became more outspoken, he too became a victim of the government’s crackdown on freedom of speech. Starting in 2001, Du published articles on a number of Chinese websites, calling for fair treatment of city and rural dwellers, social security and fair wages for farmers, and for the abolishment of the discriminatory policies of usury towards farmers. He also published articles on foreign websites, severely criticizing Chinese Communist Party ideals and the one-party dictatorship system and policy.