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Hong Kong bookseller disappearances

Chinese journalist who disappeared on way to Hong Kong ‘taken away by police at Beijing airport’: lawyer

Rights groups have linked Jia Jia’s disappearance to an open letter published online calling for President Xi Jinping’s resignation

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 March, 2016, 8:24pm
UPDATED : Monday, 28 March, 2016, 1:54pm

A Chinese journalist who disappeared on his way to Hong Kong was taken away by police at the Beijing airport, his lawyer said.

Jia Jia, a freelance journalist based in Beijing, has not been seen since March 15, after he went through customs at the Beijing Capital International Airport to board a flight to Hong Kong.

He had been planning to attend a seminar hosted by the City University of Hong Kong.

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Jia’s lawyer Yan Xin said a police branch at the airport had confirmed that Jia was taken away by municipal police bureau officers on March 15 for “involvement in a case.”

“There were police officers from the airport branch assisting in the case, so they could confirm Jia was taken away,” said Yan over the phone.

“This is the only lead in the case so far, but we still need to contact the Beijing municipal police bureau tomorrow to get more information on the nature of the case.”

Yan said Jia’s family had so far received no notification from the authorities.

Rights groups have linked Jia’s disappearance to an open letter published this month on news website Wujie News calling for President Xi Jinping’s resignation.

The letter, which was removed soon after, was signed “Loyal Communist Party members”. Little else is known about its authorship.

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Earlier reports said Jia had tipped off a Wujie editor to remove the petition. Jia’s friends reportedly said he was not the article’s author.

Jia’s disappearance comes at a sensitive time as several booksellers in Hong Kong had also gone missing in recent months. The booksellers had since resurfaced, though, to say that they left for mainland China on their own accord.