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Monday, March 20, 2006 

Missing Persons: Documentary Filmmaker and AIDS Activist

Some distressing news from Global Voices Online today.

First, Beijing-based documentary filmmaker, blogger and Global Voices Online's Northeast Asia Editor, Hao Wu, was detained by authorities in Beijing. It was not very longer ago I started to read Hao Wu's excellent commentaries on Chinese movies and it certainly felt very weird to learn that he has been detained.
"Hao Wu (Chinese name: 吴皓), a Chinese documentary filmmaker who lived in the U.S. between 1992 and 2004, was detained by the Beijing division of China’s State Security Bureau on the afternoon of Wednesday, Febuary 22, 2006. On that afternoon, Hao had met in Beijing with a congregation of a Christian church not recognized by the Chinese government, as part of the filming of his next documentary.

Hao had also been in phone contact with Gao Zhisheng, a lawyer specializing in human rights cases. Gao confirmed to one of Hao’s friends that the two had been in phone contact and planned to meet on Feb. 22, but that their meeting never took place after Gao advised against it. On Friday, Feb. 24, Hao’s editing equipment and several videotapes were removed from the apartment where he had been staying. Hao has been in touch his family since Feb. 22, but judging from the tone of the conversations, he wasn’t able to speak freely. One of Hao’s friends has been interrogated twice since his detention. Beijing’s Public Security Bureau (the police) has confirmed that Hao has been detained, but have declined to specify the charges against him.

The reason for Hao’s detention is unknown. One of the possibilities is that the authorities who detained Hao want to use him and his video footage to prosecute members of China’s underground Churches. Hao is an extremely principled individual, who his friends and family believe will resist such a plan. Therefore, we are very concerned about his mental and physical well-being."

A website dedicated to Hao’s release has been setup at It will be updated regularly with new information that emerges about Hao’s situation.

The other bad news is Chinese AIDS activist Hu Jia is still missing and presumed detained by the authorities for almost a month now.

"Thirty-one days after her AIDS activist husband Hu Jia goes missing, presumed detained, his wife Zeng Jinyan uses her blog as a platform to appeal to everyone to keep asking the question: “Where is Hu Jia?”. She writes a letter to her National People’s Congress municipal delegate for Beijing, Wu Qing, and (ZH) wakes up to find that both telephone lines in the couple’s home have been cut off, temporarily, it seems."

For those who can read Chinese, I highly recommend reading Zeng Jinyan's blog, which provides excruciating details on her experience in asking various police departments to confirm her husband's whereabouts.

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