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Zhao Shiying (better known by his pen name Zhao Dagong), a writer who hascalled for democratic reform in China, was taken from his home in the cityof Shenzhen, near Hong Kong, by police on 11 January. He is a prisonerof conscience, and is at risk of torture or other ill-treatment. The authorities have given no reason for his detention, but it appearsto be connected to his signing of a proposal for legal and political reformknown as Charter 08, and his support for an imprisoned author of the document.According to friends of Zhao Shiying, a dozen police arrived athis home at 11am on 11 January. They searched his house and took him awaysome time between 5 and 6pm. They also confiscated his two computers, somedocuments, some personal letters and many books. The police did not giveZhao Shiying or his family any reason for his detention or the confiscationof his property.   Police also briefly detained his wife and adult son. They were both releasedlater the same night, but have been told by police to not talk about whathappened to them or discuss what questions they were asked. On the eveningof 12 January, Zhao Shiying’s wife telephoned the police, seeking informationabout her husband’s situation. They told her that his case is being investigatedbut refused to tell her why he was detained. Under Chinese law, Zhao Shiying’sfamily should have been given formal notification of his detention within24 hours. Zhao Shiying has been questioned and warned by authorities not to causetrouble since he put out a public statement on the internet on 16 December2009, seeking to share the criminal responsibility for Charter 08 withLiu Xiaobo. PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in Chinese or your own language:- – calling on the authorities to release Zhao Shiying immediately andunconditionally, as he is a prisoner of conscience, detained solely forhis peaceful exercise of the right to freedom of expression;- urging them to guarantee that while he remains in custody, he will notbe tortured or otherwise ill-treated, and will have access to his family,legal assistance of his choosing and any medical care he may require;- calling on the authorities to end the use of vaguely defined crimes toprevent dissidents and activists from peacefully demanding legal and political reform. PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 25 FEBRUARY 2010 TO:Director of the Shenzhen Municipal Public Security BureauLi Ming, Juzhang Shenzhenshi Gonganju 4018 Jiefanglu Shenzhenshi Guangdongsheng 518008 People's Republic of China Fax: +86  755 84464060 Salutation: Dear Director Acting Mayor of Shenzhen Municipal Wang Rong,  Shizhang Shenzhenshi  Renmin Zhengfu Fuzhong 3 Lu, Shimin Zhongxin C qu 3 Lou Futianqu Shenzhenshi Guangdongsheng 518035 People's Republic of China Fax: +86  755 82002880 Salutation: Dear Mayor And copies to: Prime Minister of the People's Republic of ChinaWen Jiabao, Guojia Zongli The State Council General Office 2 Fuyoujie, Xichengqu Beijingshi 100017 People's Republic of China Fax: +86 10 65961109 (c/o Ministry of Foreign AffairsAlso send copies to diplomatic representatives of China accreditedto your country. Please check with your section office if sending appealsafter the above date. URGENT ACTION CHINESE PRO-DEMOCRACY WRITER DETAINED

Additional Information

Zhao Shiying (better know as Zhao Dagong),a member of the non-governmental organization, the Chinese IndependentPen Centre, has written many articles calling for reform of the Chinesepolitical system and for greater freedom of expression. Some of his articlescan be found at: and 08, initially signed by approximately 300 Chinese scholars, lawyersand officials, is a proposal for fundamental legal and political reformin China that aims to achieve a democratic system that respects human rights.Charter 08 was published online on 9 December 2008. Numerous signatoriesof the charter have been questioned and harassed by Chinese authoritiessince its launch. Liu Xiaobo, a well-known scholar, has been detained since 8 December 2008for writing Charter 08, and was sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment on25 December 2009 for “Inciting subversion of statepower”. Human rights activists in China who attempt to report on human rightsviolations, challenge policies that the authorities find politically sensitive,or try to rally others to their cause, face serious risk of abuse. Authoritiesuse broad and vaguely defined charges of "stealing, possessing andleaking state secrets" and "subversion" to arbitrarily detainand prosecute activists, journalists and internet users. Many are jailedas prisoners of conscience after politically motivated trials, while growingnumbers are being held under house arrest with the police conducting intrusivesurveillance and standing guard outside. Since the beginning of 2009, ayear that marks several sensitive anniversaries in China, the crackdownon human rights activists has intensified. Family members of human rightsactivists, including children, are increasingly targeted by the authoritiesin the crackdown.

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