New York, September 18, 2012–Chinese authorities should release a well-known academic and Internet writer detained last week in connection with his published articles, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Jiao Guobiao has been targeted in the past for his articles criticizing the Chinese government.
Beijing’s public security bureau detained Jiao on September 12 on suspicion of inciting subversion of state power after he published articles on the dispute between China and Taiwan over the unoccupied Diaoyu Islands, according to the Independent Chinese PEN Center and Chinese Human Rights Defenders. Jiao, a former journalism professor, had lost his position at Beijing University in 2004 as a result of articles he had published that criticized the country’s Central Propaganda Bureau, CPJ research shows.
China has forcefully asserted its claim to the territory in recent weeks, with activists planting flags on the land and patriotic news coverage fueling incidents of anti-Japanese violence, according to news reports.
Chinese Human Rights Defenders did not specify where Jiao had published his articles, but his September 11 post on the exile-run news outlet Boxun discussed the Diaoyu Islands, which are known as “Senkaku” in Japan. The article also complained that Chinese officials were illegally infringing on citizens’ rights, after officials had forbidden Jiao from attending a PEN meeting in Korea in early September.
“We are deeply disturbed to learn that Jiao Guobiao has been detained and call on Beijing’s public security bureau to release him immediately,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “China’s defense of its claim to the Diaoyu Islands is a matter of public interest, and journalists in China should be allowed to comment on it freely.”
Anti-state charges are frequently used against writers who comment on sensitive political issues, according to CPJ research. Nobel Peace prize laureate Liu Xiaobo is serving an 11-year sentence on inciting subversion of state power for writing about political reform, according to news reports. China was holding 27 journalists behind bars when CPJ conducted its worldwide census of imprisoned journalists on December 1, 2011.
- For more data and analysis on China, visit CPJ’s China page here.