China Is Said to Be Holding Jia Jia, a Journalist, Over Xi Jinping Letter

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.

Under President Xi Jinping, the Chinese government has taken an increasingly hard line toward dissent, imprisoning dozens of activists, lawyers and journalists. Credit Greg Baker/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Under President Xi Jinping, the Chinese government has taken an increasingly hard line toward dissent, imprisoning dozens of activists, lawyers and journalists. Credit Greg Baker/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

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.

Jia Jia, a journalist who has written critically of the government, was detained as he prepared to board a flight to Hong Kong, his lawyer said. Credit Shen Liang
Jia Jia, a journalist who has written critically of the government, was detained as he prepared to board a flight to Hong Kong, his lawyer said. Credit Shen Liang

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]

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