Xie Qiang, who uses the pen name Ma Xiao has been immunicado since April 27. According to Radio Free Asia, he received a phone call from police and has not been seen since. On May 4, his family received a notice confirming Xie had been arrested under the deliberately vague charge of ‘picking quarrels and stirring up trouble’.
Xie was a contributor to the US-based website Chinese Human Rights Defenders and has published a series of interviews with political prisoners on citizen-journalism website Boxun News since 2013. He is also a signatory of 08 Charter, which was initiated by Liu Xiaobo, the late Chinese human rights activist. Xie himself was previously detained for a short period in 2012, a few days before the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.
The IFJ said: “We are extremely concerned about the arrest of Xie Qiang. One’s freedom should not be restricted just because of what he has written, the opinion he expressed, or during the ‘sensitive’ times like the anniversary of Tiananmen Massacre. The Chinese government should ensure the freedom of expression and freedom of individuals. For those who are arrested, their rights to fair trial should be ensured - he should be notified with their charge, be able to contact the lawyer of their choice and his family.” The condition of immunicado raised the concern that Xie may be subject to torture during these days. IFJ would call for the immediate release of Xie.”