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Chinese police detain documentary maker

Written by: Staff
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BEIJING, Mar 27 (Reuters) Chinese police have detained a Chinese-born film maker who is a permanent US resident, a family member said today, weeks before President Hu Jintao visits the United States.

Hao Wu, who returned to China in 2004 after living in the United States for 12 years, had been missing since February 22 after interviewing human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, while making a documentary about an underground Christian congregation, his sister, Wu Na, said.

An officer at the Beijing Public Security Bureau confirmed Wu's detention last week, but declined to give a reason or say where he was being held, she said.

The petitions office of the police station reached by telephone declined to comment.

No formal charges have been laid, although Wu's sister believed the detention might be related to his contact with Gao, who has been suspended from practising law, or possibly to outspoken comments on his personal Web log.

China routinely blocks access to Internet sites on sensitive subjects and rules introduced last year target Internet news content to tighten the noose on freewheeling bloggers and rein in a growing source of information.

''I don't think it is related to his filming of the underground Christians. I think it is related to the lawyer or being too open on his blog,'' the sister told Reuters.

Wu's apartment was raided and filming equipment, video tapes, computer, personal diary and other effects taken away, the sister said. Police interrogated Wu's house-mate days later.

The sister said Wu had phoned her three times since his disappearance and sounded depressed during the last call.

''I'm very worried about his emotional state,'' the sister said, adding that police told her to return to Shanghai. Wu did not say why he was being held.

Wu did not want a lawyer and appeared unable to speak freely, the Paris-based press watchdog Reporters Without Borders said.

''I feel very sad because I cannot get any news right now,'' she said. ''I don't know what will happen to him next.'' REUTERS SHB ND1414

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