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Reports: China Orders Writer Detained

May 12, 2004

SHANGHAI, China (AP) _ China has ordered a pro-democracy writer detained for two years without trial, possibly over his writings on sensitive political issues, rights groups reported Wednesday.

Liu Shui was detained May 2 and sent the next day to the Xili Detention Center in the southern city of Shenzhen, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists and the Association of Independent Chinese Writers.

Liu was sentenced to remain at the center for two years of ``custody and education,″ a sentence handed out for minor crimes without a trial or formal charges, the groups said.

The Sweden-based writers’ association said Liu had been accused of ``violating regulations on public order,″ but gave no details. New York-based CPJ said Liu was picked up with a friend and accused of soliciting prostitution. It said the friend was later released.

Both groups said they believe Liu may have been detained over essays posted on overseas-based Chinese-language Web sites. Those included calls for political reforms, the release of political prisoners and a reassessment of the bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989.

``CPJ is very concerned that authorities may have arrested Liu in retaliation for his recent writing on sensitive topics,″ the group said in a statement.

A woman who answered the telephone at the Xili Detention Center said Liu wasn’t being held in her wing, but refused to give details or her name. Calls to the center’s administrative offices rang unanswered.

Liu was earlier jailed for more than four years for taking part in the 1989 pro-democracy movement and then authoring a book challenging the Communist Party’s claim that the protests were an organized plot to overthrow the government.

Hundreds, possibly thousands, of people were killed when tanks and troops were sent in to clear protesters from the square on the night of June 3-4, 1989. The government has never allowed a full investigation or accounting of the victims.

Chinese dissidents say police have tightened surveillance of them in the run-up to this year’s 15th anniversary of the crackdown.

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