We are now on Day 133 since Hao Wu, Chinese filmmaker and Global Voices Northeast Asia Editor, disappeared into detention without charge. We have been doing what we can to keep Hao's case from being forgotten. The WSJ's Geoffrey Fowler now has an in-depth story titled Gray Zone: An Arrest in China Spotlights Limits to Artistic Freedom in China, detailing Hao's detention and the context in which it happened. Here's how it begins:
An Arrest in China Spotlights Limits To Artistic Freedom
Hao Wu Set Out to Make Film On Unofficial Churches, Then Vanished From Sight Blog Advice: 'Be Careful, Man'
By GEOFFREY A. FOWLER July 3, 2006; Page A1
After 12 years in the U.S., filmmaker Hao Wu returned to his homeland two years ago to document the changes shaping Chinese society. He fell in with a crowd of artists and writers and often wrote on his blog about balancing American ideals of civil liberty with the practical realities he found in China.
"Change has to happen," he wrote in a Feb. 17 posting. "But the Chinese have to figure it out themselves."
Five days later, Mr. Wu was arrested and he has been in detention ever since. His alleged crime remains a mystery to his friends, his family and even the lawyer his sister hired to help. These people believe he was detained over his work on a documentary film about Christian churches that aren't recognized by the Chinese government. The lawyer, Wu Yigang, says the Beijing police told him the detention is related to "state secrets," which limits the possibility of a defense. The Public Security Ministry didn't respond to questions.
After describing the contradictory and often confusing cultural and political situation in China, Fowler continues:
Mr. Wu holds a green card but hasn't yet received U.S. citizenship, according to his friends. "His dream is for speaking out freely, and for making films...to let people in other countries see what was really happening in China," says his sister Nina Wu, in a March interview. Ms. Wu, a mutual-fund manager in Shanghai, quit her job recently to pursue her brother's release full time. "He knows there are some problems here but he loves China and thinks things are getting better and better."
Back to Beijing again. I missed my brother when staring at his books and things. Hard to believe that their owner has been gone for so long. Looking at the note folded in the book on which my brother wrote down the address of a restaurant, I can’t help crying out. I saw his clean and fresh handwriting, and imagined his state of mind when writing down these notes. He is always my brother. A person with such simplicity and passion for life does not deserve such winding complications. No matter what others might say about him, our firm belief and trust in him will not change.
I've confirmed that Nina is ok. However her health is not great and she's under a lot of pressure. Please head over to Freehaowu.org and hit the comments section and share some supportive words with her, and please go over to her Chinese blog and let her know that you are rooting for her, and for Hao.
Also please don't forget to sign the petition and write letters to your elected representatives and local media. If you have a website or blog click here for "Free Hao Wu" badges you can put on your site.