China Detains CBS Television Producer Natalie Liu

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September 3, 1998

 

Jiang Zemin
President, State Council
Beijing 100032
People's Republic of China

 

Your Excellency:

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is greatly alarmed by the detention of CBS television producer Natalie Liu.

At around 10 a.m. on September 2, 14 state security officials arrived at Liu's Beijing residence to take her into custody. Liu's mother and two small children witnessed the event. According to sources close to the family, the uniformed officers videotaped and photographed the apartment's interior before handcuffing Liu and taking her away. Officers refused Liu's repeated requests that they inform her of the grounds for her detention. Agents also seized the journalist's notebooks, address book, videotapes, and photographs. Almost 48 hours later, no formal charges have been made, and her family has received no word from authorities regarding her status.

Liu, who works for CBS News as a freelance associate producer and is a legal permanent resident of the United States, holds a Chinese passport under the name Liu Qingyan. She has been working for CBS News in Beijing since early 1997, and was due to return to the United States on Monday, September 7, accompanying her children.

As an organization of journalists dedicated to the defense of our colleagues around the world, CPJ condemns Liu's detention as a blatant attack on freedom of the press. We are disturbed not only by the detention, but by the way in which it was carried out-without a search warrant or statement of charges.

China's record on press freedom has long been a source of concern for CPJ. This latest action is further evidence that China persists in seeking to maintain a culture of secrecy and signals that Chinese authorities continue to employ harsh methods to control journalists, including those working for the foreign press.

We urge Your Excellency to order the immediate release of Natalie Liu. If she is accused of specific offenses, we ask that they be made public through the appropriate legal channels. We look forward to your response.

 

Ann K. Cooper

Executive Director



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Jiang Zemin
President, State Council
Beijing 100032
People's Republic of China

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