JANUARY 6, 2004
Posted: January 30, 2004
Cheng Yizhong, Nanfang Dushi Bao
Zeng Wenqiong, Nanfang Dushi Bao
At about 4 p.m., authorities detained Cheng, the editor of the Guangzhou-based
daily Nanfang Dushi Bao (Southern Metropolis News), from the paper's
offices and brought him to the local prosecutor's office. Six employees
of the newspaper's business department were also detained. Cheng was interrogated
about the paper's financial activities, according to the Hong Kong-based
Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy. He was released eight
hours later. It is unclear if the other staff members were released at
the same time.
Journalists at the newspaper suspected that the detention was linked to
the newspaper's reporting about the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
(SARS) and other politically sensitive issues. On December 26, the Nanfang
Dushi Bao reported a suspected SARS case in Guangzhou, the first new
case in China since the epidemic died out in July 2003. The government
had not yet publicly released information about the case when the newspaper's
report came out.
On January 2, before Cheng's detention, newspaper staff told Agence France-Presse
that the reporter of the SARS story, Zeng Wenqiong, and a deputy news
editor were being investigated over the report, which was published without
the requisite official permission. Zeng later told Reuters that she was
being "kept a little away from SARS" and was no longer allowed to cover
Some Chinese journalists speculated that the harassment of Cheng could
also be in retaliation for other reporting by the paper that had shown
local officials in a bad light. The paper was one of the most aggressive
in reporting on the March 2003 death of college student Sun Zhigang, who
was beaten to death in police custody in Guangzhou. Public outcry over
his death led to the arrest of several local government and police officials.
On January 14, 2003, the official, English-language China Daily
reported that another staff member of Nanfang Dushi Bao, surnamed
Yu, was also detained on suspicion of financial irregularities at the
paper and had been under house surveillance since early 2003. No further
details were given. The China Daily report denied that the harassment
of Nanfang Dushi Bao staff was related to the paper's reporting
on SARS. Quoting a propaganda official from Guangdong Province, the report
said that the staff members were detained "because one of the newspaper's
staff is allegedly involved in a 'bribery case' rather than for the reasons
reported by overseas media."
Nanfang Dushi Bao is part of the Nanfang Daily Group, which publishes
several of China's most aggressive and independent newspapers, including
Nanfang Zhoumo (Southern Weekend). In March 2003, Ershiyi Shiji
Huanqiu Baodao (21st Century World Herald), another Nanfang Daily
publication, was closed down after it published an interview with a former
secretary of Mao Zedong, in which he called for political reforms.
In mid-2003, Chinese government officials imposed a news blackout on the
spread of SARS, which eventually killed 774 people in 11 countries, including
349 in mainland China. Following widespread condemnation by the international
community, China's leaders called for rapid and accurate reporting of
all new SARS cases in the country in 2004.
MARCH 9, 2004
Posted: March 10, 2004
Three reporters, Apple Daily
HARASSED, LEGAL ACTION
Authorities in Beijing interrogated three reporters from the
Hong Kong-based Apple Daily newspaper yesterday and then deported
them to Hong Kong, according to a spokesman for the paper. Apple Daily
is the second-largest Chinese-language newspaper in Hong Kong.
Early on the morning of March 9, security officials arrived at the journalists’
hotel and brought them in for questioning. The journalists were held for
six hours before officials escorted them to the airport and put them on
a flight to Hong Kong. The two reporters, surnamed Chan and Ho, and a
photographer, whose name was unavailable, were in Beijing to cover the
annual meetings of the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s
Political Consultative Conference.
Apple Daily officials have not provided any further details about the
incident, and authorities in China have not said why the journalists were
Media from Hong Kong are required to apply for permission to report from
mainland China. Authorities routinely refuse accreditation for Apple
Daily, which frequently publishes reports critical of the Chinese
government. According to the Hong Kong Journalists Association, Chan,
Ho, and the photographer did not have proper accreditation to report from
MARCH 19, 2004
Updated July 15, 2004
Yu Huafeng, Nanfang Dushi Bao
Li Minying, Nanfang Daily Group
IMPRISONED, LEGAL ACTION
The Dongshan District Court in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, sentenced
Yu Huafeng, Nanfang Dushi Bao deputy editor-in-chief and general
manager, to 12 years in prison on corruption charges. Li Minying, former
editor of Nanfang Dushi Bao, was sentenced to 11 years for bribery
in a related case. Li also served on the Communist Party Committee of
the Nanfang Daily Group, the newspaper's parent company,
In an appeal trial held on June 7, 2004, Li's sentence was reduced to
six years in prison, while Yu's sentence was reduced to eight years.
Nanfang Dushi Bao has become very popular in recent years for its
aggressive investigative reporting on social issues and wrongdoing by
local officials. The paper broke news that a young graphic designer, Sun
Zhigang, was beaten to death in March 2003 while being held in police
custody in Guangzhou. Public outcry over Sun's death led to the arrest
of several local government and police officials.
On December 26, 2003, the Nanfang Dushi Bao reported a suspected
SARS case in Guangzhou, the first new case in China since the epidemic
died out in July 2003. The government had not yet publicly released information
about the case when the newspaper's report was published. Editors and
reporters who worked on the SARS story were reprimanded. Yu was detained
on January 14, according to a report in the official, English-language
According to a March 19 report in the official Xinhua News Agency, Yu
was convicted for embezzling 580,000 yuan (US$70,000) and distributing
it to members of the paper's editorial committee. The court also accused
Yu of paying Li a total of 800,000 yuan (US$97,000) in bribes while Li
was editor of Nanfang Dushi Bao. Li was accused of accepting bribes
totaling 970,000 (US$117,000).
Both men maintain that the money under question was acquired legally and
was considered routine bonuses handed out to staff. Chinese journalists
familiar with the case have told CPJ that evidence presented in court
did not support the charges of corruption. Yu and Li have said they will
appeal the ruling.
In recent years, government authorities have made moves to consolidate
control over the Nanfang Daily Group, which owns a number of China's most
independent and popular newspapers, including Nanfang Zhoumo (Southern
Weekend) and Ershiyi Shiji Jingji Baodao (21st Century Economic
Herald). In March 2003, the Ershiyi Shiji Huanqiu Baodao (21st
Century World Herald), also owned by the Nanfang Daily Group, was closed
after it ran a series of sensitive stories, including an interview with
a former secretary of Mao Zedong who called for political reforms.
MARCH 19, 2004
Posted: March 26, 2004
Updated: August 31, 2004
Cheng Yizhong, Nanfang Dushi Bao
At about 3:00 a.m., public security officials from Guangzhou arrested
Nanfang Dushi Bao Editor-in-Chief Cheng Yizhong while he was visiting
Sichuan Province. He was brought back to Guangdong and was detained in
the Number One Detention Center in Guangzhou for more than five months
on suspicion of corruption. Officials also searched his home in Guangzhou
and confiscated a number of publications and books about Chinese politics,
according to CPJ sources.
The same day, the Dongshan District Court in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province,
sentenced Yu Huafeng, Nanfang Dushi Bao deputy editor-in-chief
and general manager, to 12 years in prison on corruption charges. Li Minying,
former editor of Nanfang Dushi Bao, was sentenced to 11 years for
bribery in a related case. Li also served on the Communist Party Committee
of the Nanfang Daily Group, the newspaper's parent company.
In an appeal trial held on June 7, 2004, Li's sentence was reduced to
six years in prison, while Yu's sentence was reduced to eight years.
Under Cheng's leadership, Nanfang Dushi Bao has become very popular
in recent years for its aggressive investigative reporting. CPJ believes
that authorities have targeted the paper for coverage that showed local
officials in a negative light. Specifically, the paper broke news that
young graphic designer Sun Zhigang was beaten to death in March 2003 while
being held in police custody in Guangzhou. Public outcry over Sun's death
led to the arrest of several local government and police officials.
In December 2003, Nanfang Dushi Bao reported a suspected SARS case
in Guangzhou, the first new case in China since the epidemic died out
in July 2003. The government had not yet publicly released information
about the case when the newspaper's report was published. On January 6,
2004, security officials detained Cheng for eight hours and questioned
him about financial irregularities at the paper. The reporter who covered
the SARS case was also put "under investigation." Yu and Li were arrested
the following week. Since then, reporters at the paper have been under
heightened surveillance and warned against talking to the foreign press.
Authorities released Cheng on August 27 after a strong appeal on his behalf
by scholars, lawyers and journalists within China.
APRIL 2, 2004
Posted: April 20, 2004
Two journalists were forcibly removed by police while reporting on a demonstration
outside the Central Government Office in Hong Kong.
Late in the evening of April 1, members of the Hong Kong Federation of
Students gathered outside the Central Government Offices to protest against
the Beijing government's plan to offer an interpretation of the Basic
Law, Hong Kong's constitution. By morning, about 400 protesters had gathered
in a sit-in. At about 5 a.m., police arrived on the scene to clear the
protesters before the government offices opened for business. Before clearing
protesters, police officers asked all journalists present to leave the
area. After several of the journalists refused to leave, four police officers
forcibly removed a Apple Daily reporter. An Oriental Daily
journalist was injured in a scuffle with the police and treated in a hospital
for minor injuries.
The Hong Kong Journalists Association, the Hong Kong Press Photographers
Association, and the Hong Kong News Executive Association all issued protests
against the incident. Police Commissioner Dick Lee Ming-kwai responded
that officers had used "minimum force" to remove the journalists.
MAY 2, 2004
Posted: May 11, 2004
Liu Shui, freelance
IMPRISONED, LEGAL ACTION
Police in Shenzhen detained Liu and a friend on charges of "soliciting
prostitution." They were brought to a detention center, where they were
questioned. The next day, Liu's friend was released, according to press
Liu was transferred to Xili Detention Center in Shenzhen, where he has
been sentenced to two years of "custody and education," a form of administrative
detention specifically designed for accused prostitutes and their clients.
According to Chinese law, authorities can sentence individuals to up to
two years of "custody and education" without holding a trial or filing
Prior to his arrest, Liu had written a number of essays commemorating
the June 4, 1989, military crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in
Beijing, advocating for the release of political prisoners, and calling
for political reforms. Many of his essays were posted on Chinese-language
Web sites hosted overseas.
Liu, 37, is a journalist who has worked as an editor and reporter for
publications including Nanfang Dushi Bao (Southern Metropolis News)
and Shenzhen Wanbao (Shenzhen Evening News), according to news
This is the fourth time Liu has been arrested. In 1989, he was active
in the democracy movement in Lanzhou, Gansu Province, and subsequently
spent a year and three months in prison on charges of "counter-revolutionary
propaganda and organization."
In 1994, he spent three years in prison on "counter-revolutionary propaganda"
charges after editing a book titled The Truth About the June 4th Incident.
He was also briefly detained in 1998.
In recent months, Liu Shui has written a number of essays, news reports,
and poems that have been published online. In an article published on
April 23, he reported on an anti-corruption protester in Shanghai whom
police had beaten up and detained. He also published a poem in tribute
of the Tiananmen Mothers, a group of women whose relatives were killed
or injured in the June 4, 1989, military crackdown. In one of his most
recent articles, which was posted online on April 27, he interviewed family
members of the New Youth Study Group-four young men who are serving lengthy
prison sentences on "subversion" charges for using the Internet to distribute
articles on social and political issues.
MAY 19, 2004
Posted: June 7, 2004
Allen Lee, Commercial Radio
HARASSED, THREATENED, CENSORED
Lee, former radio host for Hong Kong's Commercial Radio and delegate to
the Chinese legislature, told members of Hong Kong's Legislative Council
on May 27 that he quit both posts last week after being pressured by Beijing
officials because of his support for democracy on-air.
Lee announced his resignation from both posts on May 19. He had been a
host on the popular morning phone-in radio show "Teacup in the Storm"
produced by the privately owned Commercial Radio.
In a specially convened meeting of the council's home affairs panel, Lee
described several meetings in which Beijing officials, whom he refused
to identify, pressured him to cease his public support for democracy in
Lee also told the panel that a person claiming to be a former Chinese
official phoned him to request a meeting, then brought up Lee's wife and
daughter. Lee interpreted the comment as a threat and quit his posts as
a "preventive measure," The Associated Press reported.
Lee said Beijing is seeking to limit public support for democracy prior
to September legislative elections, in which 30 of the 60 members of Hong
Kong's parliament, known as the Legislative Council, will be elected by
popular vote. Previously, only 20 of the seats were directly elected.
Several days before Lee resigned, the official, English-language China
Daily criticized him for advocating democracy on-air. "Political figures
must watch their words and deeds very carefully," the newspaper warned.
Lee is the third Hong Kong radio host to step down in the last month,
and of the three, he was considered the most moderate. Lee began hosting
"Teacup in the Storm" after the departure of longtime regular host Albert
Cheng, who resigned on May 3 in a pre-recorded on-air message. Cheng's
announcement cited death threats and the "suffocating" political climate
in the territory. Cheng had been an aggressive critic of both Beijing
and Hong Kong's pro-Beijing Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa.
On May 13, Wong Yuk-man (also known as Raymond Wong) announced he was
taking a temporary break as host of Commercial Radio's "Close Encounter
of the Political Kind" because he was "physically and mentally tired,"
according to a statement read by a guest host of his program. He did not
say when he would go back on-air. Wong frequently criticized the mainland's
Lee's statements before the legislative panel are the most precise description
so far of political pressure faced by pro-democracy Hong Kong commentators.
Both Cheng and Wong refused to testify before the panel.
The departures of the three radio hosts have sparked fears of a crackdown
on free expression in Hong Kong, following Beijing's announcement earlier
this month that there would not be a transition to full democracy in Hong
Kong in the near future. Today's edition of the Chinese-language Hong
Kong–based Apple Daily carried an advertisement signed by
400 Hong Kong academics, who expressed "shock and concern" at the radio
hosts' departures. "Today there is growing alarm at the threat to freedom
of speech, and we need to be vigilant against the signs of its erosion,"
the advertisement said.
JUNE 6, 2004
Posted: July 15, 2004
Open Constitutional Initiative
Authorities closed the Open Constitutional Initiative (OCI) Web site,
which had become a forum for lawyers, academics, journalists, and others
who advocated for legal reform in China. The site posted commentary and
news related to specific legal cases, protections of civil rights, and
Before its closure, many of the site's contributors had posted essays
advocating the release of Cheng Yizhong, editor of the Nanfang Dushi
Bao (Southern Metropolis News); Yu Huafeng, deputy editor-in-chief
and general manager of Nanfang Dushi Bao; and Li Minying, the paper's
former editor. All three journalists were arrested on corruption charges,
but their arrests were widely seen by Chinese journalists as a government
effort to silence one of China's most aggressive and popular newspapers.
Li was sentenced to 12 years in prison, while Yu was sentenced to 11 years.
Cheng is still awaiting trial.
Authorities did not offer the Web site operators any explanation for the
closure. However, the site was shut down one day before a court in Guangdong
held an appeal trial for Li and Yu. (Li's sentence was reduced to six
years on appeal, while Yu's was reduced to eight years.) Zhang Xingshui,
a lawyer who helped run the site, told the news agency Agence France-Presse,
"It's hard to say why they shut us down, but you cannot rule out that
it is because of the [newspaper editors'] trials."
JUNE 8, 2004
Posted: July 19, 2004
All video filmmakers
The State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television (SARFT) issued
a circular tightening regulations on public broadcasts of digital video
productions, according to Xinhua News Agency. The SARFT is the government
office responsible for regulating content of the broadcast media.
The new rules require all digital video productions to gain official approval
before being broadcast on television, on the Internet, or in public cinemas.
The circular states that productions "concerning religion, nationality
and sensitive subjects must seek advice and get approval from the local
government departments concerned before being broadcast. Those productions
whose content is questionable or may cause negative effect on society
are forbidden to be broadcast."
To gain official approval, video productions must abide by existing national
regulations on permissible content as established by the SARFT.
The new regulations also require all individuals or groups who plan to
broadcast a video production overseas to gain approval before doing so.
Filmmakers who violate this rule will be banned from producing or broadcasting
their work for three years.
JUNE 24, 2004
Posted: July 26, 2004
South China Morning Post
Oriental Daily News
Ta Kung Pao
Officers from Hong Kong's Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC)
raided six newspapers after they reported the name of a witness in a fraud
investigation. The ICAC, which obtained search warrants for the raids,
said that identifying the woman violated a witness protection law.
TheHong Kong offices of the South China Morning Post, one of the
six raided, reported on court proceedings in which the witness was said
to be held against her will by the ICAC. The agency also raided the newsrooms
of the Oriental Daily News, Sing Tao, The Sun,
Apple Daily, and the Ta Kung Pao, according to news reports.
Seven ICAC officers came to the South China Morning Post offices
July 24 demanding to interview journalists who had reported on the court
proceedings, the newspaper reported. The officers asked the reporters
to return to ICAC offices, where they were questioned until late that
night, according to the Post report.
The Oriental Daily News reported that 10 ICAC officers searched
the desks of its court reporters and seized documents. Officers later
searched the offices of The Sun, sister publication of the
Daily News. Apple Daily reported that officers searched
the paper's offices, as well as the home of one of its reporters. Three
officers spent six hours searching the computers and seizing documents
at the Sing Tao offices.
The ICAC was established in 1974 as an independent agency to investigate
corruption in Hong Kong. In a July 25 statement, the ICAC defended the
raids as part of an investigation into violations of the Witness Protection
Ordinance. Under the ordinance, identifying a protected witness "without
lawful authority or reasonable excuse" is punishable by up to 10 years
AUGUST 24, 2004
Posted: September 1, 2004
Chen Guidi, freelance
Wu Chuntao, freelance
Chen and Wu, who wrote a banned book investigating local corruption
and mistreatment of peasants in Anhui Province, went on trial for libel
in Fuyang Intermediate People's Court. The proceedings ended on August
28, and a verdict is not expected for another month.
In their book, An Investigation of China's Peasantry (Zhongguo
Nongmin Diaocha), husband and wife Chen and Wu described cases of abuse
and extortion of farmers at the hands of corrupt officials, including
Zhang Xide, former Linquan County Communist Party secretary. The book
became an unexpected bestseller in mainland China. The publisher, People's
Literature, received a verbal order to stop distributing copies of the
book this spring, according to international news reports, but pirated
copies of the book continued to sell briskly around the country.
Zhang, meanwhile, sued writers Chen and Wu for damages of around US$24,000.
Before the trial began, authorities denied an appeal by the defense to
have the trial moved outside Linquan County, according to news reports.
Zhang's son is a judge in the courthouse in the city of Fuyang. Though
his son did not hear the case, lawyers for Chen and Wu have stated they
did not believe that the two writers would receive a fair trial.
Zhang has also sued People's Literature publishing house for libel.
More than 20 local government officials testified in support of Zhang
at the four-day trial, which began on August 24, according to the South
China Morning Post. Several local farmers testified for Chen and Wu.
Libel cases are an increasingly common way of controlling the press in
China. According to Yale professor Chen Zhiwu, who has studied recent
libel cases, Chinese courts almost always rule against the media. Damages
of $24,000 are higher than average, according to Chen.
Posted: September 27, 2004
Zhanlue Yu Guanli
Chinese government authorities closed the prominent bi-monthly diplomacy
journal Zhanlue Yu Guanli (Strategy and Management) after it published
an article strongly criticizing the North Korean government and urging
a revised strategy in China-North Korea relations, according to international
Analysts and foreign media initially speculated that the August article,
by Tianjin-based economist Wang Zhongwen, reflected a possible shift in
Chinese government policy toward North Korea.
Such speculation took a turn, though, when the government clamped down
on the journal soon after. The August issue failed to reach many of its
subscribers, and the State Press and Publication Administration later
ordered the magazine's closure, according to international news reports.
Editors confirmed that authorities had shut down the journal, but have
not named the specific article that precipitated the action, according
to Reuters and Agence France-Presse.
Zhanlue Yu Guanli has been a forum for Chinese scholars to examine
policy issues since its inception in 1993, and has established a reputation
for independent commentary.
Last year, the journal lost its required government sponsorship, making
it vulnerable to official censure.
China's increasingly diverse media are subject to censorship by the State
Press and Publication Administration. Byzantine regulations that restrict
the press make it possible for authorities to act against publications
that do not adhere to evolving political constraints.
SEPTEMBER 17, 2004
Posted: September 27, 2004
Zhao Yan, New York Times
Zhao, a news assistant at the New York Times Beijing bureau and
a former reporter for Beijing-based China Reform magazine, was
detained in Shanghai. Zhao's lawyer Mo Shaoping has been unable to contact
him, according to international news reports, and authorities have not
responded to inquiries by the New York Times about the reason for
On September 21, Zhao's family received a notice from the Beijing State
Security Bureau accusing Zhao of "providing state secrets to foreigners,"
according to international news reports. Mo said these allegations could
lead to a charge of treason, a crime punishable by execution.
The arrest followed an article in the New York Times revealing
Jiang Zemin's plan to retire from the position of chairman of the Central
Military Commission. The September 7 article preceded the official announcement
of the final transfer of leadership to Hu Jintao on September 19 and cited
unnamed sources with ties to leadership.
Zhao's associates have speculated that the journalist is under investigation
as the source of the leak.But New York Times foreign editor Susan
Chira said that Zhao, who worked as a researcher for the Times
and not as a reporter, did not provide any state secrets to the newspaper.
Zhao began working at the New York Times in May after he
was forced out of his job as a reporter for China Reform magazine.
Police harassed Zhao on multiple occasions this year after he reported
aggressively for the Beijing-based magazine on government abuse of peasants
across China. In June, police raided Zhao's family home. According to
the New York-based organization Human Rights in China, the raid startled
Zhao's elderly father and precipitated a decline in his health; he died
a few days later. Zhao has also worked as a political activist.
Mo said that Zhao's recent detention may be unrelated to his former work,
according to the Los Angeles Times.
NOVEMBER 24, 2004
Posted: November 9, 2004
Shi Tao, freelance
IMPRISONED, LEGAL ACTION
Police from the security bureau of Changsha, Hunan Province, detained
freelance journalist Shi near his home in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province. In
the days following his arrest, authorities confiscated the journalist's
computer and other documents and warned his family to keep quiet about
the matter, according to a statement posted online by Shi's brother, Shi
Shi's family was notified that the journalist was held being in Changsha
under suspicion of "leaking state secrets," an extremely serious charge
punishable by lengthy imprisonment or death. The charge also makes it
very difficult for a defense lawyer to meet with Shi because of the secrecy
with which the government treats this type of case. Authorities did not
tell his family exactly what brought about the charge.
Until May, Shi was a journalist for the daily Dangdai Shang Bao
(Contemporary Trade News), which is based in Changsha. Shi has also written
essays for overseas Internet forums, including Minzhu Luntan (Democracy
Forum). In an essay he posted in April titled "The Most Disgusting Day,"
Shi criticized the Chinese government for the March 28 detention of Ding
Zilin, an activist for the Tiananmen Mothers group whose 17-year-old son
was killed in the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.
According to CPJ research, China is the world's leading jailer of journalists,
with 42 behind bars.
DECEMBER 3, 2004
Posted: March 28, 2005
Zheng Yichun, Freelance
IMPRISONED, LEGAL ACTION
Zheng Yichun, a prolific Internet writer and poet, was imprisoned in Yingkou on December 3, 2004, state media reported several weeks later.
Yingkou Ribao (Yingkou Daily News) reported on February 24 that authorities in Yingkou, in Liaoning Province, had officially arrested Zheng on suspicion of inciting subversion. Zheng's family was warned not to publicize his arrest, and was silent before state news reported it.
Zheng was a regular contributor to overseas online news sites including Dajiyuan (Epoch Times), which is connected to the Falun Gong spiritual movement. He has been harshly critical of the Communist Party. In one of his most recent essays on November 25, he blasted the limited news coverage available to Chinese citizens through the party-run broadcast and print media.
DECEMBER 13, 2004
Posted: December 14, 2004
Liu Xiaobo, freelance
Yu Jie, freelance
Liu and Yu, two prominent writers and defenders of imprisoned journalists
in China, were detained and released the next morning after being warned
to stop writing reports critical of the Chinese government.
Officers from the Beijing National Security Bureau took Liu and his wife,
Liu Xia, from their home in Beijing in the late afternoon of December
13, according to the Writers in Prison Committee of International PEN.
Security police arrived at the house of Yu shortly thereafter.
The two writers were detained on suspicion of "endangering state security."
Released On December 14, Yu told Reuters that police appeared to be preparing
a case against him. "They said my essays attacked the Communist Party,
the government, and the leadership and seriously violated the constitution,"
Yu told Reuters.
Police asked Yu to sign and fingerprint copies of his articles printed
from the Internet and released him only after copying all documents from
his computer, according to international news reports.
Yu and Liu are founding members of the Independent Chinese PEN Center
(ICPC), which advocates for the release of imprisoned writers, poets,
and journalists in China.
Yu is a prominent writer whose fiction, social criticism, and political
commentary have been banned in China. He was one of six intellectuals
who recently drafted a proposal that Mao's corpse be removed from the
mausoleum in Tiananmen Square.
Liu, president of ICPC, is a leading activist and writer who was imprisoned
in the 1990s after he was accused of serving as an organizer in the democracy
movement of 1989. He recently posted articles online advocating for the
release of imprisoned poet and journalist Shi Tao. Liu was also an outspoken
defender of Internet dissident Du Daobin, who was released from prison
earlier this year.
The detention of Yu and Liu follows a pattern of harassment of intellectuals
and journalists in China that has intensified since President Hu Jintao
consolidated his leadership in the Communist Party by assuming command
of the military in September.