The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is deeply worried for the welfare of journalist Wen Tao, artist Ai Weiwei and other people missing in China since April 3.
Wen, 38, who was dismissed from the online portal Global Times English, which is associated with the government-run People’s Daily, was reported missing on April 3.
On the same day, his colleague Ai Weiwei was detained by immigration officers at Beijing international airport as he was about to depart for Hong Kong.
Before he disappeared, Wen reported that the editor-in-chief of Global Times had requested he no longer work for the outlet.
This followed publication on the Global Times website of articles he wrote about a workshop conducted by Ai, and Ai’s request to authorities for transparency and information about the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. Wen, who commonly reported on social welfare issues, also made observations about the workshop on Twitter.
“The IFJ urges authorities in China to fully investigate the disappearance of Wen Tao and provide all information on his whereabouts and welfare,” IFJ Asia-Pacific said.
“We hold grave concerns that he is being illegally detained by authorities, and call for the immediate release of Wen and Ai Weiwei.”
After his disappearance, Ai’s family placed an online “notice” seeking information on his whereabouts. On April 7, a spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry said at a press conference that police had detained Ai, for alleged bigamy and tax evasion.
Around the same time, Global Times published a series of articles questioning Ai’s relationship with western countries.
Ai’s wife has reported that the Beijing tax department requested she provide further information about her husband.
Ai’s cousin and personal driver is also reported to have disappeared since Ai’s detention, according to reports in Hong Kong.
Information about Ai’s detention is now censored in China with the exception of the recent reports in Global Times. Ai’s online articles are also heavily blocked in Google’s search engine.
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
The IFJ represents 600,000 journalists in 125 countries
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