Editor’s Note: It is articles such as this one that remind us of how truly valuable our rights of free speech are, and how important it is to vehemently defend any attempts to limit them.
BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese writer linked to an investigation of an online petition calling for the Chinese president’s resignation has been released, his lawyer confirmed on Saturday.
Jia Jia, who was taken away by police on March 15 from a Beijing airport, on Friday night informed friends in a private social media group of his safety. His lawyer Yan Xin confirmed that Jia was free, had met his wife and — although he was staying in a hotel — could return home any time.
Jia apparently is part of a high-profile investigation into the anonymous letter that criticized President Xi Jinping’s rule and called for him to step down. It briefly appeared on the government-controlled news site Watching.cn in early March.
Two top editors of Watching.cn, including Editor-in-Chief Ouyang Hongliang, and two site technicians have been reported to be out of contact for days and believed to be under investigation.
Jia apparently is part of a high-profile investigation into the anonymous letter that criticized President Xi Jinping’s rule and called for him to step down
Wen Yunchao, a prominent overseas Chinese activist, said he had come under pressure from Chinese authorities to admit his connection to the letter. He said that authorities in his southern Chinese home county of Jiexi have been holding his elderly parents and a younger brother since Tuesday in an apparent act of coercion.
“But I cannot admit things that have nothing to do with me,” Wen wrote on his Twitter account.
Calls to the local police were unanswered on Saturday.
China’s State Internet Information Office referred inquiries about the letter and Watching.cn to the ruling Communist Party’s propaganda committee for the western region of Xinjiang, which directly supervises the news site, but the propaganda office there claimed no knowledge of the matter.