March 24, 2006

Help us collect and spread the news

Filed under: News, Help us out — Rebecca MacKinnon @ 3:06 pm

A number of journalists are working on articles about Hao Wu’s detention - over one month now without charge. We’re expecting to see a lot more stories coming out over the next 24 hours.
As the coverage comes out on the internet we will link to it on this site as much as possible. If you find stuff we may not know about, please e-mail it to Meanwhile, we’d like your help in broadcasting the world’s support for Hao’s case. Here’s what you can do:

If you write blog posts, make podcasts, or upload photos to Flickr related to Hao, please tag them in Technorati and In English please use: freehaowu and in Chinese with 释放吴皓. For instructions about how to tag blog posts in Technorati click here.

For the growing number of blog posts and news articles about Hao’s situation, see also here and here on Technorati, here on, and here on Google News.

Volunteer Translators: If you have good language skills and would like to translate Chinese articles about Hao into English and vice versa. Please feel free. If you have a blog, post the translation there and let us know, or if you don’t, email us the translation and we’ll post it here.

… and don’t forget to stick a Free Hao Wu badge on your website!

Note: Many people have asked about a petition or letter-writing campaign. We have not done either yet because we cannot escalate our campaign without the consent of Hao’s loved ones. But if and when the time comes, we’ll be sure to announce it here.

Hao Wu on NPR

Filed under: News — ethanz @ 2:42 am

Marketplace, a leading business show from American Public Media which airs twice a day on many National Public Radio stations in the US, featured Hao Wu in their “Final Note” of today’s show, commenting on his detention.

In late January, Hao Wu gave a commentary on the Marketplace show about his feelings about pirated DVDs. It’s a great commentary… as well as a chance to hear Hao Wu’s voice. Click here to listen to it.

March 23, 2006

The world reacts

Filed under: News — ethanz @ 5:55 pm

I just wanted to offer my thanks to everyone who has blogged about Hao Wu’s detention or put a badge on their site. Technorati sees roughly a hundred posts about Hao Wu in the past two days; looking through my server logs, I see over two hundred bloggers who’ve added one of the four badges we provided on the siteor remixed them.

Some of the posts are from people who know Hao Wu - Yan from Glutter was on a BBC World Service panel with Hao about a week before his arrest. She offers a partial transcript of the BBC panel, as well as this thought:

I am totally in shock at the moment, so very upset. I thought he was very intelligent, and articulate. I even mused on the blog, that he might not be saying everything he believed in because he might not want the authorities after him… I think he was being careful already, he never said he believed in free speech, he didn’t say anything that was anti the communist government, but he did say something about the project he was working on. Which goes to show, under a totalitarian regime, you never know what one says may interest the authorities.

Please help him. Put up the banner. Write it on the blog. Just let people know.

Lisa at Paper Tiger briefly worked with Hao Wu when he was an aspirating filmmaker in the US. She offers these thoughts on his detention:

It’s hard for me to know what to say, except that Hao is a great person, with talent and heart and vision, and that for the Chinese government to detain him is yet another sign of how the CCP still squanders the talent of its own people, how it is destroying China’s future in the name of “social harmony,” which more than anything else seems to be a figleaf of ideological cover for the exercise of raw power and untrammeled authority. Hao never challenged the CCP. The only way in which his work could be considered “political” is that he does not censor his own observations, that he thinks freely and isn’t afraid to say what he thinks.

Support for Hao Wu is coming from all over the world:

Martin Varsavsky in Madrid: Cuando Arrestan un bloguero en China

Melisa De Leon in Panama: Free Hao Wu!

Peking Duck from Taipei: It’s an outrage: Beijing or Bust Blogger Held by Chinese “Security” Bureau

Dr. Politics from Sri Lanka

and dozens of others, including Afromusing, BoingBoing, Blogcritics, Instapundit, and Black Looks.

The story is also being picked up - gradually - by the mainstream media, including Radio Free Asia and Washington Monthly. And Reporters Without Borders, Committee to Protect Journalists and Committee to Protect Bloggers have helped spread the word, demanding Hao Wu’s immediate release.

What will the attention do? We don’t know. The hope is that, the more people are talking about Hao Wu’s unjustified arrest and detention, the better chance that Chinese government will feel compelled to release him, or at least formally charge him. But it’s hard to know whether outside pressure will be felt in China, or whether this pressure will lead to our friend’s release.

Thanks to everyone for your help so far and for more help in the future.

March 20, 2006

It is nearly one month since Hao Wu was detained without charge.

Filed under: About Hao Wu, News — Rebecca MacKinnon @ 12:00 pm

We appeal to the Chinese government for Hao Wu’s immediate release!

What happened to Hao?

Hao Wu (Chinese name: 吴皓), a Chinese documentary filmmaker who lived in the U.S. between 1992 and 2004, was detained by the Beijing division of China’s State Security Bureau on the afternoon of Wednesday, Febuary 22, 2006. On that afternoon, Hao had met in Beijing with a congregation of a Christian church not recognized by the Chinese government, as part of the filming of his next documentary.

Hao had also been in phone contact with Gao Zhisheng, a lawyer specializing in human rights cases. Gao confirmed to one of Hao’s friends that the two had been in phone contact and planned to meet on Feb. 22, but that their meeting never took place after Gao advised against it. On Friday, Feb. 24, Hao’s editing equipment and several videotapes were removed from the apartment where he had been staying. Hao has been in touch his family since Feb. 22, but judging from the tone of the conversations, he wasn’t able to speak freely. One of Hao’s friends has been interrogated twice since his detention. Beijing’s Public Security Bureau (the police) has confirmed that Hao has been detained, but have declined to specify the charges against him.

The reason for Hao’s detention is unknown. One of the possibilities is that the authorities who detained Hao want to use him and his video footage to prosecute members of China’s underground Churches. Hao is an extremely principled individual, who his friends and family believe will resist such a plan. Therefore, we are very concerned about his mental and physical well-being.

More about Hao: From Scientist to Computer Guy to Filmmaker.

Hao began his filmmaking career in 2004, when he gave up his job as a senior product manager at Atlanta-based Earthlink Inc. and returned to China to film Beijing or Bust, a collage of interviews with U.S.-born ethnic Chinese who now live in China’s capital city. Before working for Earthlink, Hao worked as a product manager for Internet portal Excite from 2000 to 2001 in Redwood City, CA Before that, Hao had also worked as a strategic planning and product development director for Merchant Internet Group, an intern for American Express Co. and a molecular biologist with UCB Research Inc.

Hao earned an MBA degree from University of Michigan Business School in May 2000 and a Master of Science in molecular and cell biology in July, 1995 from Brandeis University, where he was awarded a full merit-based scholarship. Before studying in the U.S., Hao earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from the China University of Science and Technology in Hefei, Anhui province in June, 1992.

Hao the Blogger.

Hao has also been an active blogger, writing as “Beijing Loafer” on his personal blog, Beijing or Bust, named after his film. Due to Chinese government internet blocking of his blog hosting service, he also has a mirror version of the site on MSN Spaces. In early February Hao began contributing as Northeast Asia Editor to Global Voices Online, an international bloggers’ network hosted at Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society. Writing under the pen name Tian Yi, Hao’s contributions aimed to bring citizens’ online voices from China and the rest of North East Asia to readers in the English-speaking world.

Why didn’t we speak out about his detention earlier?

Hao’s family and friends in China have deflected questions about his detention for the past month, as authorities in contact with people close to Hao have urged them not to publicize the case. There had been hope that his detention was only for a short period of time, in which case publicity would not have been helpful.

For more information…

Hao’s family and friends inside China do not want to be interviewed directly by the media at this time, and thus we will not provide journalists with their contact information. This website will be updated regularly with new information that emerges about Hao’s situation.

All further queries can be e-mailed to: