Tue, Dec 21, 2004 - Page 5 News List

Journalist detained on sketchy charges


A Chinese journalist and advocate for poor farmers has been detained for unspecified alleged criminal offenses, police and his supporters said yesterday.

The action against Li Boguang follows the detention of several other writers as Chinese authorities, jittery amid public anger at official abuses, are intensifying a crackdown on the media.

"We took him in on Friday. His activities here constitute a criminal offense," said a police official in Fuan, a city in Fujian Province.

He gave only his surname, Zheng.

Li hasn't been formally arrested, Zheng said.

"We have reason enough to charge him. I don't want to tell you what crime," he said.

"We are now detaining him for 15 days. We can prolong it to one month if we need to."

Word of Li's detention first came from an overseas human rights group.

Li had run into trouble for working with farmers in Fuan, who accused local officials of corruption.

In an article posted on the Internet in October, Li wrote that he planned to return to Fuan despite threats by officials that he and another reporter, Zhao Yan, would be "thrown to the sharks."

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