US expresses concern over detention of Chinese dissident

WASHINGTON, May 31: The US has expressed concern over detention of a Chinese dissident, Xin Jian, ahead of the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown.
“The detention of Xin appears to be part of an ongoing crackdown on freedom of expression that has targeted bloggers, journalists and others,” State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said.
“We believe that censorship of the media and detention of journalists for pursuing politically sensitive stories are incompatible with China’s aspirations to build a modern, information-based economy and society,” she said yesterday.
“We urge China to respect fundamental freedoms, including the freedoms of press, expression, peaceful assembly, religion, and association,” Psaki said.
Early this week, Japanese financial newspaper Nihon Keizai Shimbun said that Xin, who worked as a news assistant in its bureau in the southwestern city of Chongqing, had been arrested at her home in the city.
The paper said authorities had initially told Xin’s family she was detained on May 13 to assist with the ongoing investigation into human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang’s case.
“Each year in the run-up to the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square killings, China tries to intimidate journalists into silence. The 25th anniversary seems to have prompted an even broader crackdown,” said Committee to Protect Journalist deputy director Robert Mahoney from New York.
“The authorities must release Xin Jian and all detained journalists immediately and allow them to work without fear and harassment,” he said.
Psaki also expressed concern over endemic sectarian violence in Pakistan.
“We remain concerned, broadly speaking, about endemic sectarian violence in Pakistan,” she said.
“Ensuring protection of human rights and religious freedom as an important part and an element, of course, of our bilateral discussions,” she said when asked about the killing of an American cardiologist, who was a member of the minority Ahmadi community, in Pakistan. (PTI)


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