Fimmaker, photographer and author Du Bin has been released after five weeks in detention in Beijing. On May 31, Du disappeared from his apartment in Beijing and was held by police. Du was released on Monday, though he may still face trial on criminal charges. From the South China Morning Post:
“[On Monday] around 10 pm, he was released,” his younger sister Du Jirong said, speaking on the phone from their hometown Linyi, in eastern China’s Shandong province. “I’m very relieved.”
Hu Jia, a well-known Beijing-based human rights advocate and friend of Du, also confirmed his release on bail.
Du is now free awaiting trial on charges of “creating disturbances”, Hu said. The charges can lead to a jail sentence of up to 10 years, according to Chinese criminal law. [Source]
Police did not provide a reason for his detention, though supporters believe it is related to his work, including a recent book about the crackdown on protesters on June 4th, 1989, and a documentary about conditions at the Masanjia women’s detention center, which holds Falun Gong adherents. While in detention, police questioned Du Bin about his work, the BBC reports:
Aside from asking about his book, he said officials questioned him about a documentary he made on China’s labour camps.
Police officers had investigated his past all the way back to his situation in primary school, Mr Du said.
He was told that officials wanted to understand “why he turned from a good child to someone who kept digging scars into the government”. [Source]
China Change has written about Du’s book, Tiananmen Massacre, which was published a week before his detention.
The New York Times, where Du once worked as a photographer, explains more about his pending case:
The journalist, Du Bin, said in an interview hours after his release that he could still face trial for “picking quarrels and making trouble,” accusations he said stemmed from his recent film about a Chinese labor camp and a book about the crackdown on Tiananmen Square protesters. The charges against him carry a maximum five-year prison term.
Over the coming year, he said, the authorities could still try him on those charges, adding that his movements would be largely restricted during that period. “It all depends on whether the police are unhappy with me,” he said, speaking from the home of his girlfriend.
His lawyer, Pu Zhiqiang, said the terms of Mr. Du’s release on bail were not entirely clear, which he said was most likely intentional, perhaps as a way to constrain his behavior. [Source]