China quake critic detained by police
jessica.lam | June 18, 2008 at 09:09 amby
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A retired teacher in China was detained for writing articles criticizing the construction standards of the schools that collapsed. Around 900 children were buried in the rubble of their schools.
Police detained Zeng Hongling in Sichuan's capital, Chengdu, on charges of "inciting state subversion," according to the Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy.
Zeng wrote three articles for a Chinese-language website based in the United States that said that many of the schools that collapsed in the May 12 earthquake in Sichuan were shoddily built, and that the deaths of hundreds of children might have been prevented with proper construction.
The series of articles, titled My Personal Experience in the Earthquake, appeared on www.ObserveChina.com. One article, titled "Earthquake relief efforts fully reveal the true face of party officials," questions the role of Sichuan officials in relief efforts.
School collapses have become one of the most heated issues in the earthquake recovery process and one that local Communist leaders seem anxious to suppress.
Authorities mum on arrest reports
China's government-controlled media have largely ignored the topic, and parents and volunteers who have questioned authorities have been detained and threatened.
Zeng, 56, used to teach at the Southwest University of Science and Technology in Mianyang, and was being held in the city after being detained on June 9 in Chengdu, the Hong Kong human rights groups said.
Attempts by the Associated Press to contact police in Sichuan produced no comment on the case.
A man who answered the telephone at the Mianyang public security bureau said officials did not know about the case. He refused to give his name. Telephones rang unanswered at the university.
Zeng's detention comes after Chinese dissident Huang Qi, who ran a human rights website and wrote about parents who had lost their children in the quake, was detained in Chengdu last week on charges of possessing state secrets.