Critic of party Jiao Guobiao accused of subversion is moved to new location

Jiao Guobiao, who posted inflammatory web comments, moved to an unknown location

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 25 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 25 September, 2012, 4:17am

Staunch Communist Party critic Jiao Guobiao has been released from the Beijing detention centre where he was taken on subversion charges this month, but remains in police custody, a rights group said yesterday.

Jiao, the former journalism professor who was sacked from Peking University in 2005 for a widely circulated essay attacking the party's propaganda agency, was taken away by Beijing police on September 12 for "inciting subversion of state power" with provocative comments about the East China Sea islands dispute.

Chinese Human Rights Defenders said yesterday that Jiao was released from Beijing's Haidian police detention centre over the weekend, but was being held by police at a hotel in Beijing. His exact location is unknown.

A friend of Jiao said his wife, who is in the United States, was also unsure about where her husband was. She did not know whether Jiao was released on bail or put under "residential surveillance" - a form of detention conducted outside a jail.

The authorities have in the past put activists and dissidents under such surveillance in a bid to silence them. Calls to Jiao's mobile phone were met with a message saying his line was suspended.

The Haidian detention centre declined to comment while Beijing police did not immediately respond to questions.

Jiao's wife had earlier told friends that her husband was detained over open letters to Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara and Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou that he posted online, dated September 8. In his letter to Ishihara, whose plan to purchase the Diaoyu, or Senkaku, islands triggered the current diplomatic row between China and Japan, Jiao sarcastically suggested he would donate money to help Japan complete the sale.

He said he would help Japan buy the Zhongnanhai leadership compound in Beijing, "so it could be turned into a pigsty to keep Chinese pigs". "The Communist Party arbitrarily violates its citizens' freedoms and rights … whoever could wipe out China would be my hero," he said.

To Ma, Jiao wrote: "If Beijing also possesses the Diaoyus, they will become another pigsty where it can arbitrarily carry out abuses."

The letters were dated two days after the authorities put Jiao under house arrest and barred him from travelling to South Korea to attend a conference organised by the writers' group, the Independent Chinese PEN Centre.

Jiao told the South China Morning Post this year that police had warned him against commenting on politically sensitive topics. He said he was barred from leaving home for more than 40 days last year and had to regularly report his movements.