The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply troubled by the ongoing harassment of acclaimed poet and freelance radio journalist Liu Hongbin. Liu, who lives in exile in the United Kingdom, has been banned from returning to China to visit his mother, who has fallen seriously ill.
On an October 2004 visit, Liu and his 3-year-old daughter were detained upon arrival in Beijing. He and his daughter were held in a detention center for three hours before being transferred to a hotel, where they were held incommunicado overnight before being allowed to continue on their journey to visit his mother in the city of Qingdao. Liu's daughter was distraught and suffered insect bites on her face and legs.
Liu, who has been in exile since 1989, recently learned that a ban on his return to China was renewed on March 15, 2005. He is therefore barred from again visiting his mother, who has been hospitalized.
Liu's writings became well known during the pro-democracy demonstrations at Tiananmen Square. As well as being a prominent poet and literary figure, Liu has worked as a journalist for the Chinese service of Radio France International since 2000. He has also made freelance contributions to independent magazines in Hong Kong, Taiwan and the United States.
In articles and in interviews that have appeared in the Western media, Liu has spoken out for democratic reform in China. His criticisms and his work as a journalist have contributed to his ongoing harassment at the hands of officials.
As an independent organization of journalists dedicated to defending our colleagues worldwide, CPJ appeals for the ban on Liu's return to China to be revoked and for an end to his harassment.
Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter. We await your response.