China: CPJ demands release of filmmaker and blogger Wu Hao

New York, March 22, 2006—The Committee to Protect Journalists called today for the release of documentary filmmaker and blogger Wu Hao whose detention has only now been made public. Wu was detained on February 22 in Beijing, apparently without charge, according to his friends in China and the United States.

“Wu Hao must be released immediately,” said Ann Cooper, CPJ’s executive director. “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.”

Wu, a Chinese citizen who returned home in 2004 after living in the United States since 1992, was working on a documentary about unregistered Christian churches in China—a politically sensitive subject. An earlier documentary, Beijing or Bust, dealt with young U.S.-born Chinese living in Beijing. Wu also wrote under the name Beijing Loafer in his blog, also called Beijing or Bust, which is censored in China. Wu uses the name Tian Yi when writing for the U.S.-based international bloggers’ network Global Voices.

On February 24, Wu’s editing equipment and several videotapes were removed from the apartment in Beijing where he had been staying. News of his detention was made public with his family’s permission only after attempts by his friends and relatives to obtain his release failed.

Wu has been able to phone his family several times and his roommate once since his arrest, but judging from the tone of the conversations he was not able to speak freely, friends said. They suspect he is being held somewhere in Beijing.