The New York Times
By: JAVIER C. HERNÁNDEZ
BEIJING — A Chinese journalist who had written critically of the government was being held by the authorities on Friday on suspicion that he helped draft a letter calling for the resignation of President Xi Jinping, his lawyer and friends said.
The journalist, Jia Jia, a 35-year-old freelance writer based in Beijing, was detained on Tuesday as he prepared to board a flight to Hong Kong, according to his lawyer, Yan Xin.
The letter the authorities were investigating was an incendiary denunciation of Mr. Xi’s leadership that also spoke of threats to the president’s safety if he did not resign, friends and relatives of Mr. Jia said.
The letter, which was published this month on a Chinese news site and widely circulated online, was signed simply, “Loyal Communist Party members.” Mr. Jia told friends before his detention that he had not written the letter.
Human rights advocates criticized the Chinese government’s handling of the case, saying that it appeared to be part of an effort to harass and silence critics. Under Mr. Xi, the government has taken an increasingly hard line toward dissent, imprisoning dozens of lawyers, activists and journalists and demanding absolute loyalty from the news media.
“It seems it’s no longer enough for Chinese authorities to erase all trace of criticism — it now seems bent on erasing all trace of its critics, too,” said Sophie Richardson, China director for Human Rights Watch.
The Committee to Protect Journalists, an advocacy group based in New York, said in a statement late Thursday that it was “deeply concerned” by Mr. Jia’s disappearance. [FULL STORY]