The documentary filmmaker and blogger Hao Wu has been arrested and is being detained by Chinese officials for unknown reasons, allegedly in connection with information he has that may be pertinent to the national Communist Party. “A number of China-related bloggers have been sitting on this story for several days, fearful that saying anything might make the dilemma of Hao Wu … worse than it already is,” reports Richard on his popular Far East blog Peking Duck. “Hao’s editing equipment and several videotapes were removed from the apartment where he had been staying”, according to another report.
The news spread last night after Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit linked to several stories about the blogger, who was formerly senior product manager for Atlanta-based Earthlink Inc.
It is believed that the arrest may be in connection with Hao’s knowledge of “underground churches” in China, a phenomenon offiials at the PRC have been trying to crack down on for some time now. “”China’s new generation of leaders are trying to consolidate control of the country as it goes through rapid social and economic changes,” said Wilfred Wong, a parliamentary officer for the Jubilee Campaign,” in a recent BBC Online report. “”The Communists feel threatened by any popular ideology which is different from their own,” he said.
Many high-profile bloggers are encouraging readers to get in touch with China’s embassy in Washington to protest the arrest. It is likely to put extra pressure on Google, given its recent decision to self-censor in its commercially expedient move into China. Wal Mart is another American corporate giant receiving wide-spread criticism in the blogosphere: only having just recovered from a recent attack by Michael Barbaro in the New York Times over the use of aggressive PR tactics aimed at bloggers, the company’s planned entrance into the People’s Republic is now being seen unfavourably again by the community in light of Hao’s plight.
Hao is the writer of Beijing or Bust, a blog that often flirts with the fine lines between Chinese state censorship and the U.S. Fifth Amendment, a habit he may have picked up from his education in the United States: the self-proclaimed “biologist-turned-capitalist-turned-writer & filmmaker wannabe” has an MBA degree from University of Michigan Business School and earned a Master of Science in molecular and cell biology in July, 1995 from Brandeis University, where he was awarded a full merit-based scholarship.
Comments one reader on Peking Duck blog: “Hao is a good friend of mine. He is an all-around great guy – talented, passionate and brave. The kind of person that China is lucky to have, contributing his talent and intelligence. This is beyond outrageous. It’s absolutely sickening.”