Media and Advertising

Big Brother and the Net Nanny

Two people involved in "sensitive matters" in China have recently disappeared.

One of them is AIDS activist Hu Jia. His wife Zeng Jinyan has started a blog, mostly in Chinese, called Looking for Hu Jia. Yesterday she published a post called Hu Jia has been missing for 36 days, in which she describes her attempts to get information from the police.

The second is filmmaker Wu Hao, who was shooting a documentary about Christians who belong to or gather at unofficial churches. Wu also has an English language blog called Beijing or Bust. There is more information about the case on Rebecca MacKinnon's blog: Free Hao Wu

Your correspondent has no first hand information about either of these cases, but I do have an observation: Both of the blogs linked to above are accessible in China. This means that whatever is happening to these two people, it is unlikely that either of them are in trouble because of blogging or Internet activities. Furthermore, it is evidence of a disconnect between the Net Nanny and the authorities that seem to have detained them, apparently the police.

Finally, I have my doubts that publicity will help either of these two people. The case of detained New York Times researcher Zhao Yan has been raised time and time again in that newspaper's editorial pages and reportage, as you can see from a search on NY Times.com for Zhao Yan. Zhao remains in detention.

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