March 28, 2006

Associated Press & Reuters report on Hao

Filed under: News — Rebecca MacKinnon @ 1:22 pm

Associated Press reporter Alexa Olesen: China not giving details about filmmaker.

One week after Wu Hao disappeared, officials at the Beijing Public Security Bureau told Wu Na her brother was being investigated but could not be visited by a lawyer. They also warned her not to talk to the media.

“My brother has the right to defend himself,” Wu Na said Friday. “As his relative, I have the right to know the truth. I hope they will act according to law. I want them to give me a clear answer.”

……

Editing equipment and several videotapes were removed from Wu Hao’s Beijing apartment on Feb. 24, according to a Wednesday statement by the CPJ. Wu Hao lived in the United States for 10 years before returning to China in 2004 to make documentaries, the group said.

“Wu Hao must be released immediately,” Ann Cooper, CPJ’s executive director, was quoted as saying. “His detention is one more example of China’s desperate attempt to restrain journalists who seek legitimately to explore and understand the dynamics of its rapidly changing society.”

Reuters reports: Chinese police detain documentary makerĀ 

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese police have detained a Chinese-born film maker who is a permanent U.S. resident, a family member said on Monday, weeks before President Hu Jintao visits the United States.

Hao Wu, who returned to China in 2004 after living in the United States for 12 years, had been missing since February 22 after interviewing human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, while making a documentary about an underground Christian congregation, his sister, Wu Na, said.

An officer at the Beijing Public Security Bureau confirmed Wu’s detention last week, but declined to give a reason or say where he was being held, she said.

The petitions office of the police station reached by telephone declined to comment.

No formal charges have been laid, although Wu’s sister believed the detention might be related to his contact with Gao, who has been suspended from practicing law, or possibly to outspoken comments on his personal Web log.

China routinely blocks access to Internet sites on sensitive subjects and rules introduced last year target Internet news content to tighten the noose on freewheeling bloggers and rein in a growing source of information.

“I don’t think it is related to his filming of the underground Christians. I think it is related to the lawyer or being too open on his blog,” the sister told Reuters.

Wu’s apartment was raided and filming equipment, video tapes, computer, personal diary and other effects taken away, the sister said. Police interrogated Wu’s house-mate days later.

The sister said Wu had phoned her three times since his disappearance and sounded depressed during the last call.

“I’m very worried about his emotional state,” the sister said, adding that police told her to return to Shanghai. Wu did not say why he was being held.

Wu did not want a lawyer and appeared unable to speak freely, the Paris-based press watchdog Reporters Without Borders said.

“I feel very sad because I cannot get any news right now,” she said. “I don’t know what will happen to him next.”

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