Human rights groups are calling for the immediate release of Chinese
Internet writer Du Daobin after he was rearrested earlier this week,
saying his detention is part of a pre-Olympics crackdown on political
dissent. From VOA's New York Bureau, Mona Ghuneim reports.
human rights organizations say the arrest of Du Daobin is another
example of China's freedom of speech violations. They say the writer
and former political prisoner was arrested by Chinese public security
officials and accused of violating conditions of his release, including
continuing to write online articles and receiving guests without
Bob Dietz, of the Committee to Protect
Journalists, says the rearrest of the prominent dissident writer came
as a surprise to him. Du's arrest comes just days before his
probationary period for 2004 charges was set to expire. Dietz says
Du's lawyer has not seen any documents related to the arrest and
considers the detention suspicious.
"China is very uncomfortable
with having people critical of the government speaking out at this
time," he said. "It's not clear to me exactly what Mr. Du had been
doing this time. I think this might be a cautionary tactic on the part
of the government to try and stifle any potential voices of criticism."
Dietz says Du is one of 27 journalists who are in Chinese jails.
Siems of the PEN American Center says the New York-based nonprofit
writer-support organization puts the number at 45, including writers,
journalists and bloggers. But both advocates agree that China is not
delivering on its promise for greater media freedom.
Du's arrest, which follows the news of charges against another Chinese
writer and human rights advocate, Huang Qi, is an attempt by China to
"shelve one more prominent dissident before the Olympics." He says Du
is a member of PEN America's affiliate organization in China, the
Independent Chinese PEN Center, which is also denouncing the arrest.
Siems says Du's arrest is part of what he calls China's "cold political calculations."
comes three weeks after it [China] had detained two other Independent
Chinese PEN Center members and lawyers who had been invited by two U.S.
representatives [congressmen] who were in Beijing - Christopher Smith
and Frank Wolf - to have dinner with them to discuss the human rights
situation in China and the authorities detained them and made it
impossible for them to go to that dinner," he said.
The Chinese government has called the charges of a pre-Olympic campaign against dissidents "groundless."
groups are calling on the international community to make sure all
arrests or detentions in China are reported and to pressure China to
address human rights violations.