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Well-known human rights blogger placed under house arrest

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders deplores the fact that writer Zhao Hun (who blogs under the name of Mo Zhixu) was placed under house arrest on 18 August 2009 in Beijing. Mo Zhixu, who writes about human rights and signed the December 2008 appeal for democracy known as Charter 08 had just been elected by the Chinese Independent Pen Centre to head its next session.

"This decision to place Mo Zhixu under house arrest shows that the government wants to silence all dissent as it prepares to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the People's Republic of China on 1 October," Reporters Without Borders said. "Furthermore, the authorities have made no attempt to explain their action."

Aged 20 in 1989, Mo Zhixu belongs to the generation that participated in the Beijing Spring and was one of the founders of one of China's most influential blogs, Bullog ( http://www.bullog.cn ), which is currently blocked. His home was raided and searched on 3 March as he was preparing to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the June 1989 crackdown on the student movement.

Along with 19 other Chinese intellectuals, Mo Zhixu participated in a seminar in Beijing on 10 May on the subject of "The Democracy Movement since 1989" (see link: http://tinyurl.com/o2o9wd ).

It is suspected that the decision to place him under house arrest may have been prompted by his election by members of the Chinese Independent Pen Centre (CIPC), an independent writers' organisation, to head its next session. Or it could be in response to his support for other dissidents.

An article in Chinese on the Chinese Human Rights website points out that he was previously placed under house arrest for 10 days immediately prior to the arrest of fellow CIPC member and fellow Charter 08 signatory Liu Xiaobo on 8 December 2008.

Mo Zhixu was also summoned for questioned by the Beijing authorities on 28 July, the day prior to the arrest of another human rights activist, Xu Zhiyong, the founder of the NGO Gongmeng.

Another CIPC member, Uyghur blogger Ilham Tohti, has been held since the rioting in Xinjiang province in July.

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