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China 2 June 2004

Is Liu Xiaobo in prison?

Chinese Internet rights campaigner Liu Xiaobo, who has been under house arrest, may have been sent to prison. He has not answered phone calls to his home since 28 May and nothing has been heard from him. The China Information Center human rights website ( speculated that he and his wife may have been taken away.

Liu Xiaobo under house arrest ahead of 4 June

Reporters Without Borders has condemned a move by Chinese authorities placing several human rights activists under house arrest, preventing them from publicly marking the 15th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre on 4 June.

Among them is Liu Xiaobo, a champion of free expression and author of a number of articles about cyberdissidence in the country.

Reporters Without Borders called for the immediate lifting of the restrictions on Lui and other dissidents designed, it said, to try to silence intellectuals at the approach of the commemoration of the bloody crackdown on 4 June 1989.

Police have been surrounding the homes of the best known activists for several days, stopping them from meeting journalists or other dissidents. Their phone lines, which are tapped, are cut as soon as they begin any conversation deemed as "sensitive" in the eyes of the authorities. The same thing has also been happening on the Internet.

Liu, an academic, is one of the country’s leading human rights figures. He wrote an article strongly criticising "subversion" charges brought against most of the country’s cyberdissidents, calling it an aberration under Chinese law.

Liu also launched a solidarity campaign in support of Du Daobin, a cyberdissident arrested on 28 October 2003.

He already knew he was being followed each time he left home. His telephone calls were being cut and he can no longer send emails.

Hu Jia, an activist who denounced official inaction in the face of the spread of Aids in China, has also been put under house arrest, along with Ding Zilin, 67, leader of the "Mothers of Tiananmen", a group of mothers who lost children in the 1989 massacre.

In this country
3 June - China
“Tank Man” photo displayed outside Chinese embassy in Paris on eve of Tiananmen Square massacre
2 June - China
All references to Tiananmen Square massacre closely censored for 20 years
12 May - China
Foreign reporters prevented from working in Sichuan a year after earthquake
24 April - China
Concern that detained Tibetan magazine editor is being tortured
25 March - China
Government blocks access to YouTube

in the annual report
China - Annual report 2008
China - Annual report 2007
China - Annual report 2006

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Asia press releases
3 June - North Korea
Pyongyang judges asked to be lenient with two American journalists
3 June - Afghanistan
US forces arrest a journalist in Khost
2 June - China
Blocking of Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Blogger deprives Chinese of Web 2.0
2 June - Sri Lanka
Press freedom activist badly beaten in Colombo, hospitalised
29 May - Sri Lanka
Journalists trying to cover fate of Tamils are threatened, obstructed