Chinese police detain poet without rhyme or reason

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is deeply concerned over the detention of a poet on allegations that he was helping to edit an anthology of poems of Liu Xiaobo, the late Nobel Peace Prize awardee.

According to several non-Mainland China media reports, Wu Minglang, 49, whose pen-name is ‘Langzi’, was detained in Haizhu District of Guangzhou, Guangdong province on August 18 on the suspicion that he was involved in an "illegal business activity." According to the media, the officer of Haizhu District of State Administration for Press Publication Radio Film and Television (SAPPRFT) ransacked Wu’s apartment on August 8. Wu’s poetry and arts exhibition pamphlets were confiscated. Ten days later, Wu was taken away by local policemen. 

A report by Radio Free Asia said that Wu had been accused of violating the laws of publication, but the police did not state the name or section of the relevant law or how Wu had allegedly breached it.

Chinese PEN co-founder Bei Ling said: “The Chinese government does not want to see any poems commemorating Liu Xiaobo being published.” It is reported that Wu is an editor of the poetry anthology and that the collection is most likely to be published in Taiwan instead of Hong Kong.  

Several people have been detained by the police since Liu passed away. Wu was one of the detainees and was punished with ten days of administrative detention. Furthermore, police installed a CCTV outside Wu’s apartment without giving any reason.

The IFJ said: “The SAPPRFT and police department have a duty to explain the basis on which Wu has been detained and state what crime he is alleged to have committed. Legal protection and the rights of the people to free movement have been enshrined in the Chinese Constitution and any breach of these is a grave violation of the Constitution as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” 

The IFJ urged the State Administration Press Publication Radio Film and Television and Police Department of Haizhu District, Guangzhou, Guangdong Province to provide an explanation for Wu’s detention and immediately and unconditionally release Wu if there is no substantial evidence. 

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

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