Hong Kong, July 11, 2013–The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release of Chinese filmmaker and photographer Du Bin after 37 days of detention but calls on authorities to refrain from pursuing formal charges against him.
Du told the New York Times that after his arrest on June 1 in Beijing, officials had accused him of “picking quarrels and making trouble,” but never filed charges. He said that now, despite his release, authorities could try him on those charges, which carry a jail term of up to five years. He told the BBC that he has been forbidden from leaving Beijing and must be available for further questioning by authorities.
A week before his arrest, Du had published The Tiananmen Massacre, a book on the 1989 government crackdown against protesters. He told the BBC that officials had questioned him about the book as well as a recent documentary he made on a labor camp in China’s Liaoning province, which exposed torture of mostly Falun Gong practitioners.
“While we’re relieved that Du Bin has been released from custody, we remain concerned about his uncertain fate and the restrictions placed against him,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ Asia program coordinator in New York.
According to data from WeiboTrends, government censors have deleted mentions of Du’s name on the popular Chinese microblogging website Sina Weibo, removing posts from users who simply said his name, “Du Bin!,” upon hearing of his release.
Du told the Times that police did not warn him against talking to the media, an admonishment often given to political dissidents upon their release. “This,” said Du, “is progress for China.”
- For more data and analysis on China, visit CPJ’s March 2013 special report, Challenged in China.