Human Rights in China (HRIC) protests the detention of Hangzhou-based writer Lü Gengsong, and supports calls for his release. Lü was reportedly taken into custody on August 24 on charges of "incitement to subvert state power" and "illegally possessing state secrets." Lü’s detention has raised expressions of great concern in China and overseas, including a petition signed by 1,163 Chinese rights defenders, writers, scholars and lawyers calling for Lü’s release.
According to Lü’s daughter, on the morning of August 24, police officers from Hangzhou’s Xihu District Cuiyuan Dispatch Station called Lü in for a talk, and he never came home. Subsequently, several state security police carried out a search of Lü’s home and took away his computer hard drive, along with that of his daughter. Lü’s wife was also taken to the detention center for related paperwork. HRIC subsequently learned that police have prevented Lü’s wife from going to Beijing to petition on Lü’s behalf, and threatened that if she proceeded, she would be dismissed from her job, and her daughter’s schooling would also be affected. Lü Gengsong is reportedly being held in Hangzhou’s Xihu Public Security Bureau Detention Center.
Lü Gengsong, a native of Hangzhou, graduated with a degree in history from Hangzhou University (now known as Zhejiang University) in 1983. At one point he taught at a special training school for public security officers, but he was dismissed in 1993 because of his activities in support of democratic reform in China. In recent years he has been supporting himself as a free-lance writer. He is the author of one book, Corruption in the Communist Party of China, published by Hong Kong’s Literary Workshop in the 2000, as well as a number of articles on corruption, organized crime and related topics. He has also been involved in rights defense activities such as reporting on the sentencing of Hangzhou eviction protester Yang Yunbiao. People familiar with Lü’s work are concerned that the authorities will deal harshly with him because of his recent activities.
Lü Gengsong’s detention is the most recently reported instance of the crackdown by Chinese authorities on rights defenders in the run-up to the 2008 Olympics. Available information indicates that he is being held purely on the basis of peacefully expressing his views, which he is entitled to do under Chinese and international law.