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Page last updated at 16:08 GMT, Monday, 16 June 2008 17:08 UK

China dissident Huang 'arrested'

Dissident Chinese journalist Huang Qi
Huang Qi was taken away with two other activists last week

The mother of a dissident Chinese web journalist who vanished last week says he has been taken into police custody.

Huang Qi had not been seen or heard from since he was bundled into a car in Chengdu, the capital of the quake-hit province of Sichuan, last Tuesday.

It is thought Mr Huang may have been detained for posting an article about an academic held for criticising the government's response to the quake.

Mr Huang finished a five-year jail term for subversion in 2005.

He had allowed articles about China's 1989 pro-democracy protests to appear on his website, 64Tianwang.

Since his release, he has resumed his campaigning work, setting up the Tianwang human-rights centre.

Fellow detainees

Mr Huang's mother, Pu Wenqing, told AFP news agency that she had been asked to visit the Bureau of Public Security - which handles policing and public order - on Monday to "take care of some procedures".

"They didn't say what this was about but it is pretty clear that they took Huang Qi into custody," she said.

Mr Huang was seen being grabbed by three unknown men and bundled into a car last Tuesday.

Two other activists were with Mr Huang and were also detained, said Mrs Pu.

Mr Huang had posted regular criticisms of the Chinese government's response to the 12 May earthquake.

He had also recently posted an article about Zheng Hongling, an academic who had herself written articles critical of the quake response, and who has also been arrested.

Expulsions

The press freedom group Reporters Without Borders, which awarded Mr Huang its Cyber-Freedom Prize in 2004 for his online human-rights work, has called for his release.

“The abduction of Huang and his two companions one month to the day after the Sichuan earthquake shows that the crackdown on press freedom activists continues,” said the group.

“We urge the authorities to conduct an investigation to find out where they are, and to free them at once.”

The Chinese authorities were praised for their speedy and relatively open response to last month's earthquake.

But there have been reports since of foreign journalists being expelled from the quake zone, prompting some observers to suggest that China is reverting to harsh treatment of dissidents.


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