Japanese financial newspaper Nihon Keizai (NIKKEI) has confirmed to the South China Morning Post that its Chinese news assistant has been detained in Chongqing.
The family of the assistant, identified as Xin Jian, were given a notice by the Chinese authorities, indicating that she was to be detained on charges of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”. The charge is highly ambiguous, and if found guilty, offenders could face up to 10 years in prison.
NIKKEI itself has not been notified by authorities over the detainment which occurred over two weeks ago. It released a report on its website about the affair, claiming that the assistant was taken from her apartment in Chongqing from local police on May 13 to provide information in regards to the investigation of detained human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang.
Earlier this month Pu, who took part in the pro-democracy protests in 1989, was criminally detained on the same charge as the news assistant after attending a May 3 seminar marking the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown.
His niece, together with a Beijing-based NGO worker and former journalist who was reportedly close to him, were also placed in detention.
If the affair wasn’t already perturbing enough, Xin’s husband Wang Haichun has made a public plea over Weibo for the protection of his family and provided his phone number and home address in the event that he himself becomes detained.
The post stated, “Both Xin Jian’s parents and I could not stand her detention any more. I plan to release some information tomorrow. And please help me take care of my family if I disappear.”
He has also written about a dream on Weibo about seeing his wife being freed from the detention centre and how they “drove home in silence … She told us how bad the meals and the TV programmes were at the detention centre as if it was not a big deal.”
Wang has flown to the detention centre where his wife is being held but was denied access to her.
In an ominously foreboding Weibo post, written a day before her detention, Xin posted: “May has been a sad month to me. Since 2008, I’ve witnessed so many separations in this month … Those who have met me in May, I hope you are safe wherever you are. Life is always unpredictable. But I believe love will never fade.”
The likelihood of her release we are unsure of, but her case will almost certainly be one to keep an eye on as Xin is to be represented by He Zhengsheng, known for his involvement in high profile cases including 2012’s Bo Xilai scandal. He was the lawyer of murdered British businessman Neil Heywood.
By Mandy Liang
Photo credit //SCMP