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China: Poet released on bail; movement restricted

28 September 2017
Poet Wu Mingliang (aka Langzi) was detained on charges of “illegal business operations”; later released on bail with restricted movement as case is ongoing.
Photo of poet provided to Radio Free Asia from a human rights defender

 

On 22 September 2017, Chinese poet Wu Mingliang (better known by his pen name Langzi) was released from jail on bail, after being detained for over a month after authorities apprehended the poet from his home in Guangzhou on 18 August on suspicion of “illegal business operations”, reported Honk Kong Free Press.

Langzi told Voice of America that his personal belongings, including his computer, tablet and mobile phone, remain at the police station as evidence, and explained that his freedom of movement is restricted due to case not being withdrawn: “I cannot leave the country, I cannot leave Guangzhou, every three months I have to report to Guangzhou police”.

According to Amnesty International, Chinese officials first targeted the poet on 1 July 2017, detaining him for 10 days for co-signing a letter in support of writer, activist and 2010 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, who died soon after on 13 July 2017 as a political prisoner in China.

During that first detention, Langzi said he was repeatedly questioned about an anthology of poems he wrote, edited and compiled commemorating Xiaobo.

During his second detention, the poet said authorities questioned him about the publication of an exhibition catalogue for which they allege he received no permission to publish from authorities. Langzi’s friend, Peng Heping, who helped the poet publish the catalogue, was also imprisoned under the same charges on 29 August at the same detention centre and was released on the same day as Langzi. Details about his case remain unclear.

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