A Chinese-American author detained in China for alleged espionage was yesterday confirmed to be a former Hong Kong resident. The confirmation prompted a human rights group to urge the SAR Government to seek the release of Wu Jianmin and other scholars arrested on the mainland. The other intellectuals picked up by state security officers include Dr Li Shaomin, a Chinese-American scholar working for City University, and Dr Xu Zerong, a permanent Hong Kong resident working for Zhongshan University in Guangzhou. The Foreign Ministry in Beijing confirmed on Friday that US citizen Mr Wu had been detained for his suspected involvement in collecting information judged to endanger state security. The Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in China said Mr Wu was suspected of contributing to The Tiananmen Papers, the book purporting to reveal internal debates that led up to the June 4, 1989 crackdown in Tiananmen Square. The centre's director, Frank Lu Siqing, said: 'We call on the Hong Kong Government to approach Beijing to seek the release of the three persons, or their cases will be a media focus during President Jiang Zemin's visit and will leave him embarrassed. It's easier to bargain for their release at this stage as they are only under house arrest and have not been formally charged'. Mr Jiang will visit the SAR next month to attend a forum hosted by Fortune magazine. The centre said Mr Wu had worked as China news editor of the now-defunct newspaper Express News for a short period in 1996 and contributed articles. He also contributed articles to Apple Daily between 1995 and 1999 under the name 'Jiangshan'. The Security Bureau confirmed Mr Wu was once a Hong Kong resident but said he did not enjoy that status at present. A bureau spokesman said it had not received any request for help from Mr Wu's family. Foreigners staying in Hong Kong for more than 180 days but not as visitors are issued with temporary ID cards for travelling. An Immigration Department spokesman said the residency status would be removed once the ID card holder's condition of stay changed. Mr Lu said Mr Wu, who was a former staff member at the Communist Party School in Beijing before he migrated to the US in 1988, was arrested on April 8 and visited the US consulate in Guangzhou on April 14. He said Dr Xu was understood to be detained in a house in remote countryside in Guangzhou.