A lawyer confirmed on Sunday that missing Chinese journalist Jia Jia has been detained by police in the mainland.
Yan Xin, Jia’s lawyer, said he learned from authorities on Sunday afternoon that Jia was taken away at the Beijing airport on March 15 due to “his involvement in a case”. However, no other details were revealed, the BBC reported.
The 35-year-old social commentator had been preparing to board a flight to Hong Kong on Tuesday evening. However, shortly after going through customs, he disappeared. Jia never made it to Hong Kong and subsequently missed all of his appointments in the city, including a seminar he was set to give at the City University of Hong Kong on Thursday.
NGOs such as Amnesty International have called for his immediate, unconditional release.
“We also ask to ensure that Jia, while under detention, be able to regularly meet with his family and lawyer, as well as be protected from torture and other abuses,” Amnesty said.
Jia is a well-known media personality, with over 85,000 followers on Twitter. He also writes a column for Tencent. His disappearance is believed to be related to an open letter published on Wujie News on March 4, asking for Chinese President Xi Jinping to resign. Jia is acquainted with Ouyang Hongliang, the Executive Director of Wujia News, who reportedly warned him to take the letter down.
However, AFP cited Yan as saying there may be no connection between Jia’s disappearance and the letter.
The disappearance came amid China’s tightening of control over state media, with Xi saying last month that “media run by the Party and government are propaganda positions of the Party and the government, and they must reflect the Party.”