Arts Journalist Arrested in Beijing

A Chinese arts correspondent working for the German daily newspaper Die Zeit has been detained by Police in Beijing after attempting to attend a poetry reading by local artists in solidarity with the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong.

According to Die Zeit, Chinese journalist Zhang Miao traveled to Hong Kong with the newspaper’s China correspondent Anglea Köckritz to cover the pro-democracy demonstration. In an article published by the paper on Thursday, Köckritz wrote that the Chinese government classified the protests as extremely sensitive and were very nervous about the unrest spreading to the mainland.

Due to her visa expiring, Zhang Miao returned to Beijing on October 1. At Köckritz’s behest, she agreed to continue reporting on the effects of the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement in Beijing. One day later, on October 2, Zhang Miao was arrested after attending a poetry reading in a Beijing suburb organized by local artists.

The Chinese security bureau responsible for foreign journalists claimed Zhang Miao was involved in an altercation at the reading in which she was allegedly arrested for public indecency after insulting police.

However, an artist who witnessed the arrest claimed that she was intercepted by Police before reaching the location where the reading was held. Shortly before being detained, Zhang Miao called a friend and managed to communicate that she was being arrested and had been hit by a police officer.

According to Chinese law, police must inform the lawyer and family of a suspect of his or her whereabouts within 48 hours of an arrest. Zhang Miao’s family was informed of her whereabouts six days after her arrest. Until now she has reportedly been denied access to her lawyer.

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