#Human Rights
President Hu Jintao of the People's Republic of China

April 14, 2006

Hao Wu (Chinese name: 吴皓), a Chinese documentary filmmaker and blogger who lived in the U.S. between 1992 and 2004, was detained by the Beijing division of China's State Security Bureau on the afternoon of Wednesday, Febuary 22, 2006.

On that afternoon, Hao had met in Beijing with a congregation of a Christian church not recognized by the Chinese government, as part of the filming of his next documentary.

Hao had also been in phone contact with Gao Zhisheng, a lawyer specializing in human rights cases. Gao confirmed to one of Hao's friends that the two had been in phone contact and planned to meet on Feb. 22, but that their meeting never took place after Gao advised against it.

On Friday, Feb. 24, Hao's editing equipment and several videotapes were removed from the apartment where he had been staying. Hao has been in touch his family since Feb. 22, but judging from the tone of the conversations, he wasn't able to speak freely. One of Hao's friends has been interrogated twice since his detention. Beijing's Public Security Bureau (the police) has confirmed that Hao has been detained, but have declined to specify the charges against him.

The reason for Hao's detention is unknown. One of the possibilities is that the authorities who detained Hao want to use him and his video footage to prosecute members of China's underground Churches. Hao is an extremely principled individual, who his friends and family believe will resist such a plan. Therefore, we are very concerned about his mental and physical well-being.

As of April 14th, 2006, Hao has been held for 52 days without being charged with a crime, in clear violation of Chinese procedure. Numerous requests by Hao's family for information have been denied by the State Security Bureau.

Hao Wu's friends and colleagues at Global Voices Online - where Hao served as China editor - in cooperation with his sister Wu Na have organized a website, a letter writing campaign and this petition to ask the Chinese government for his immediate release.

More information about Hao Wu's detention is available at http://freehaowu.org (or a mirror site, http://ethanzuckerman.com/haowu)

We, the undersigned concerned citizens of the world, protest the detention without charge of Chinese filmmaker and blogger Wu Hao and call on the Chinese government to release him immediately.

Mr. Wu, a Chinese citizen and U.S. permanent resident alien known in the United States as "Hao Wu", recently returned to live in China and produce independent documentaries. He was detained on February 22nd without being charged with any crime. Authorities have not given Wu Hao's family an explanation for the detention despite numerous inquiries. According to China's own Code of Criminal Procedure, a person cannot be held without charge or arrest for more than 37 days. His detention has substantially exceeded that period of time.

It is our understanding, based on speeches by China's own leaders, that China aims to be a country governed by the rule of law. The detention of Mr. Wu without charge, and without access to a lawyer, would appear to be highly inconsistent with that aim.

If Mr. Wu has indeed broken the law, a country that respects the rule of law should uphold Mr. Wu's right to legal procedure. His continued unlawful detention is a clear violation of his universally recognized human rights. We ask for his immediate release.

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The Free Hao Wu petition to President Hu Jintao of the People's Republic of China was written by Ethan Zuckerman and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.