Chinese Writer Locked Up Again After Brief Release

September 25, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015
Jiao Guobiao, a former journalism professor
Jiao Guobiao, a former journalism professor at Beijing University, answers questions at a press conference at the Foreign Correspondents' Club in Tokyo, in March, 2006. The dissident was scheduled to be released from detention on Sept. 24, but has not been. (Toru Yamanaka/AFP/Getty Images)

A sharp-penned former journalism professor who was detained nearly two weeks ago was supposed to be released from detention on Sept. 24, but instead was thrown back into custody.

Jiao Guobiao was initially not allowed to leave China to attend a meeting held by the International PEN Center, a writing organization, in South Korea beginning on Sept. 6.

Frustrated with this restriction, Jiao on Sept. 11 wrote a blistering essay criticizing the Chinese Communist Party for its recent focus on the Senkaku Islands, in a dispute with Japan, rather than focus on domestic political reform.

The following day, under the nebulous charge of “inciting subversion of state power,” Jiao was taken away from his home in the Haidian District of Beijing by domestic security officials.

He was supposed to have been released on Sept. 24, but according to a Chinese netizen who follows his movements closely, and posts regular updates, he never made it. The netizen goes by the handle “German Bonn Su Yutong.”

“Jiao Guobiao … is at an anonymous vacation village with ”Panda,'” the cryptic post by Su Yutong said at 1 a.m. Saturday.

The reference to an “anonymous vacation village,” almost certainly means arbitrary detention in one of the makeshift facilities that state security officers use to lock up dissidents; the term “panda” is commonly used by netizens to refer to National Security officers—because they are only to be found in China.

Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported that a friend visited Jiao’s home in Beijing, and found that no one was there, and that according to this individual, Jiao was put under “residential surveillance.” The term is a technical description for what is in effect arbitrary detention at an undisclosed location, applied regularly to dissidents.

A colleague who was able to attend the event in Korea, Ye Du, said that authorities were probably furious with his essay, published on the overseas dissident website Boxun. The essay undermined what he characterized as the Party’s recent attempts to incite nationalist sentiment against Japan.

“Before the 18th Party Congress, the authorities want an upsurge in nationalist emotions, so they think that those views [expressed by Jiao] will influence the opening of the Party Congress,” Ye Du said to RFA.

Originally the authorities were prepared to charge Jiao and perhaps send him to jail, but Ye Du said that the attempts by the PEN Center and others, including the Committee to Protect Journalists, prevented that outcome, and instead he was simply detained.

Ye Du said in an interview with The Epoch Times that the CCP targeted Jiao mainly because “they don’t like him.”

Jiao Guobiao was an associate professor at the School of Journalism and Communication in Peking University before he was suspended from teaching in 2004, after he published an article attacking the Central Propaganda Department, the agency that controls propaganda and media censorship in China. From 1996–2001, he was a well-known reporter for a newspaper sponsored by the China Ministry of Culture. Searches for his name are now blocked on Sina Weibo.

Read original Chinese article.

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