China frees maker of film about labor camp abuse
BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese journalist said Tuesday that he has been conditionally released from detention after five weeks in which he was asked about his book on the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown and a film he made about labor camp abuses.
Beijing-based video and photojournalist Du Bin said by phone that state security officials released him Monday evening from the Fengtai District detention center and told him that for the next 12 months, he is restricted from leaving the city without informing the authorities ahead of time, even for domestic travel.
Officials questioned him about a 600-page book he recently published in Hong Kong about the 1989 military crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Beijing and a film he made about torture at a Chinese labor camp, he said.
The authorities were questioning him to learn if the work he did amounted to the crime of “causing a disturbance,” Du said. He was not formally charged, however.
“From the time I was taken in until I was released, I never felt like I had committed any crime,” Du said. “What I want to do is to reflect the era that we live in, tell the stories of China’s ordinary people, of when they die abnormal deaths and their joys and sorrows. I’m concerned with humanity.”
Du said he was treated with respect by detention center officials and was never beaten and that he enjoyed his interactions with other detainees. He said, however, that police had seized his work computer, mobile phone and other and have not returned them to him.
Du’s detention had come amid a broader crackdown on China’s small, beleaguered community of rights activists and dissidents launched under new Communist Party chief Xi Jinping. The campaign has dashed hopes that the new leadership might ease controls on civil society.