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Journalist arrested for writing book about Sanmenxia Dam

(RSF/IFEX) - China's Sanmenxia Dam has a new victim - Xie Chaoping, a journalist who was illegally arrested without a warrant in the northeastern city of Weinan on 19 August 2010 after writing a book about the fate of those displaced by the dam. He is now reportedly being held by the Public Security Department in Beijing.

Much has been written about this dam, a major source of environmental damage and human suffering, but it seems the authorities do not welcome any investigative reporting on the subject by Chinese journalists.

Reporters Without Borders calls on the Beijing authorities to release Xie Chaoping at once. It is deplorable that a journalist who tried to cover a subject of general interest is being treated as if he were a criminal.

Xie is accused of illegal commercial activity, but his lawyer Zhou Ze reported in his blog on 30 August that the real reason for his arrest was his decision to self-publish 10,000 copies of his book, "The Great Migration," about the fate of people displaced by the dam. Xie spent three years interviewing migrants and gathering information for the book.

Xie's detention is completely illegal as neither his lawyer nor his family have been given a copy of the arrest warrant or any explanation for his arrest. According to Chinese penal procedure, they should have been notified within 48 hours.

This is not the first time that someone has been punished for providing information about the fate of those displaced by a dam. See the case of Fu Xiancai:,18004.html

At least 35 journalists are currently detained in China.
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