EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: ASA 17/43/95
UA 150/95 Arbitrary arrest / Fear for Safety 28 June 1995
OF CHINA Hongda Harry Wu (m) aged 58
Hongda Harry Wu, a naturalized citizen of the United States of America (US)
and former political prisoner in China, was detained in Xinjiang Uygur
Autonomous Region on Monday 19 June 1995. His place of detention since 23 June
1995 is unknown; he has reportedly been denied access to a representative of
the US Embassy and there are serious concerns for his physical safety.
Harry Wu and a companion were stopped by the Chinese authorities at a town
on the Kazakhstan/China border on 19 June 1995. They were initially taken to
a guesthouse near the border town of Horgas, while the authorities reportedly
investigated the legitimacy of their travel documents. While at the guesthouse,
they were kept under guard, their movements were restricted and they were not
permitted to contact the US Embassy or anyone else.
At dawn on 23 June 1995, Harry Wu's companion, also a US citizen, was taken
from the guesthouse and later returned to the US. Also on that day the US Embassy
in Beijing was informed of the detentions by the Chinese authorities who said
that they were continuing to conduct an investigation into the validity of
Harry Wu's travel documents.
Amnesty International believes that his detention may be related to his
involvement in publicizing information about political imprisonment and human
rights abuses in China and that he is, therefore, a prisoner of conscience.
Amnesty International also has well-documented concerns about routine
ill-treatment of detainees in police custody and therefore fears that Harry
Wu may be at risk of such treatment.
According to the Laogai Research Foundation, Harry Wu, whose legal name is
Peter H. Wu, was travelling on a US passport with a visa issued by the Chinese
authorities on 11 March 1995, valid for two entries into China and expiring
on 11 September 1995.
Harry Wu was born in China and is the founder and Executive Director of the
Laogai Research Foundation. He is a well-known human rights campaigner,
particularly focussing on the laogai (labour camp) system in China. In 1960
he was arrested and spent 19 years in a labour camp for expressing his political
ideas. He left China in 1985.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail
letters either in English or Chinese or in your own language:
- requesting that the Chinese authorities immediately and unconditionally
release Hongda Harry Wu;