March 27, 2006

Chinese police detain documentary maker

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese police have detained a
Chinese-born film maker who is a permanent U.S. resident, a
family member said on Monday, weeks before President Hu Jintao
visits the United States.

Hao Wu, who returned to China in 2004 after living in the
United States for 12 years, had been missing since February 22
after interviewing human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, while
making a documentary about an underground Christian
congregation, his sister, Wu Na, said.

An officer at the Beijing Public Security Bureau confirmed
Wu's detention last week, but declined to give a reason or say
where he was being held, she said.

The petitions office of the police station reached by
telephone declined to comment.

No formal charges have been laid, although Wu's sister
believed the detention might be related to his contact with
Gao, who has been suspended from practicing law, or possibly to
outspoken comments on his personal Web log.

China routinely blocks access to Internet sites on
sensitive subjects and rules introduced last year target
Internet news content to tighten the noose on freewheeling
bloggers and rein in a growing source of information.

"I don't think it is related to his filming of the
underground Christians. I think it is related to the lawyer or
being too open on his blog," the sister told Reuters.

Wu's apartment was raided and filming equipment, video
tapes, computer, personal diary and other effects taken away,
the sister said. Police interrogated Wu's house-mate days

The sister said Wu had phoned her three times since his
disappearance and sounded depressed during the last call.

"I'm very worried about his emotional state," the sister
said, adding that police told her to return to Shanghai. Wu did
not say why he was being held.

Wu did not want a lawyer and appeared unable to speak
freely, the Paris-based press watchdog Reporters Without
Borders said.

"I feel very sad because I cannot get any news right now,"
she said. "I don't know what will happen to him next."