Detentions Escalate at China Quake Site



    NEW YORK, TORONTO, STOCKHOLM, June 13 /CNW/ - PEN expressed alarm today
over the disappearance of leading cyber-dissident Huang Qi, who was last seen
being forced into a car by three unidentified men in Chengdu on the evening of
June 10. His detention comes amid an escalated effort by the Chinese
government to establish tighter controls over reporting from
earthquake-affected areas.
    Huang, director and co-founder of the Tianwang Human Rights Center in
Chengdu, had been imprisoned on subversion charges from 2003 to 2005 for
setting up a web site that investigated corruption, advocated democracy, and
called for the release of those imprisoned in the wake of the Tiananmen
protests. PEN fears that Huang has been detained by plainclothes police and
may be held incommunicado in connection with his criticism of the government's
handling of the May 12th Sichuan earthquake.
    Two employees working for Tianwang, Internet writer Huang Xiaomin and
webmaster Zhang Qi, had been detained on May 16 after declaring their
intentions to join rescue activities in Sichuan. Huang Xiaomin was released
after 15 days and reports that he was extensively questioned by police about
his relation to Huang Qi and their activities at Tianwang. Zhang Qi is still
being held incommunicado.
    It has also been reported that Zeng Hongling, a 53-year-old retired
worker from Mianyang, a city hard-hit by the earthquake, was detained while
staying with relatives in Chengdu on June 9 on suspicion of "illegally
providing information overseas" for articles published on an overseas Chinese
web site. The articles, part of a series entitled "The Accounts of My Personal
Experiences During the Earthquake," were published along with her own
photographs under a pen name, Shanshan. Zeng was taken by five plainclothes
police officers from the Public Security Bureau (PSB) of Mianyang and is being
held incommunicado at the Detention Center of the Mianyang PSB.
    PEN has also received confirmation that Chen Daojun, a freelance writer
and journalist detained in Chengdu since May 9, has now been charged with
"inciting splittism," not "inciting subversion of state power" as had been
initially reported. The charge, most often used against Tibetans and Uighurs
in China, most likely stems from an article Chen published following the
Tibetan protests which declared respect to the Tibetan people, defended their
basic rights and condemned the Chinese government's violent crackdown on
protesters.

    PEN American Center, PEN Canada, and the Independent Chinese PEN Center
are among the 145 worldwide centers of International PEN, an organization that
works to promote friendship and intellectual co-operation among writers
everywhere, to fight for freedom of expression, and represent the conscience
of world literature. On December 10, 2007, the centers launched We Are Ready
for Freedom of Expression, an Olympic countdown campaign to protest China's
imprisonment of at least 42 writers and journalists and to seek an end to
internet censorship and other restrictions on the freedom to write in that
country. For more information, please visit www.pen.org/china2008,
www.pencanada.ca, and www.chinesepen.org.





For further information:

For further information: Larry Siems, PEN American Center, (212)
334-1660 ext. 105, lsiems@pen.org; Isobel Harry, PEN Canada, (416) 703-8448
ext. 22, iharry@pencanada.ca; Yu Zhang, Independent Chinese PEN Center,
+46-8-50022792, wipc@penchinese.net


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