A Chinese journalist, who went missing after an anonymous letter calling for President Xi Jinping’s resignation, has been released, his lawyer said today.
Jia Jia has been freed here and had met his wife, his lawyer Chen Jiangang told media.
“It was really a big misunderstanding to hold Jia Jia for 10 days thinking he was somehow involved in some letter,” Radio Free Asia (RFA) has quoted lawyer Chen Jiangang as saying.
The columnist in Wujie News, which is a website funded by e-commerce giant Alibaba and the provincial government of Xinjiang, went missing from Beijing airport on March 15 while boarding a flight to Hong Kong.
The fate of 19 others who were reportedly detained in connection with the recent publication of the letter was, however, not known.
Yesterday, the BBC reported quoting an unidentified staff member at Wujie that those “taken away” include colleagues who work directly for the website and another 10 people who work for a related technology company.
Police suspect that he drafted the letter, Chen said.
“But in the case of China, a misunderstanding can embroil a whole clan,” he said.
Jia’s social media account, which had been silent since he went missing, carried a brief note saying “thank you, everyone” for showing concern over his case, according to the RFA report.
Earlier the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said, Jia told friends that he believed the police were looking for him in relation to a March 4 open letter by purported “loyal party members” published on the Watching News (in Chinese, Wujie) website calling on Xi “to resign from all Party and state leadership positions”.
The anonymous letter while appreciating Xi’s sweeping anti-corruption drive has accused him of promoting “personality cult, not allowing ‘rash opinions of central leadership’, creating a ‘one voice party’ method” disregarding the collective leadership principle.
Although quickly deleted by the authorities, a cached version can still be found online.
Xi besides being the President also heads the Communist Party and military. Thousands of officials were punished in the anti-graft drive in the last three years.