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A Chinese writer and academic was detained last week on subversion charges for writing about tensions over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Island territories, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Jiao Guobiao was detained by Beijing’s public security bureau on Sept. 12 for allegedly publishing articles on the uninhabited islands. He has published several articles on the dispute between China and Taiwan.

There were two days of violent anti-Japanese protests in China concerning ownership of the territories in the East China Sea. Protestors in the Chinese city of Qingdao set a Japanese-run Panasonic factory on fire as well as a Toyota dealership.

Chinese officials say they are worried about how this violence might infringe on sovereignty.

“We are deeply disturbed to learn that Jiao Guobiao has been detained and call on Beijing’s public security bureau to release him immediately,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon in an article on the organization’s website.

Jiao Guobiao said the islands are about public interest and journalists should be free to publicly discuss these issues.

In the Radio Free Asia article, Independent Chinese PEN Center member Zhang Yu said he read Jiao’s articles prior to his detainment. He considered the posts moving and spoke about the importance of political reform. Zhang also noted that the articles were extremely short and were a few lines long.

“Jiao Guobiao’s case shows very clearly that freedom of speech in China is the worst it has ever been,” said Pan Jiawei, director of the Hong Kong Independence Chinese PEN Center in a New Tang Dynasty story.

This is not the first time Jiao has dealt with free press problems. In 2004, he lost his position at Beijing University as a journalism professor for criticizing the Central Propaganda Bureau, CPJ reported.

In 2004, Jiao launched what Radio Free Asia called a “blistering attack” on the Communist Party’s propaganda officials. He wrote about their contribution to evildoers by silencing the media.

As of 2011, CPJ reported 27 Chinese journalists were behind bars.

By Taeler De Haes. 

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