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Printer of book about Sanmenxia Dam arrested

(RSF/IFEX) - 17 September 2010 - Zhao Shun, a printer from the northeastern province of Hebei, was arrested earlier this week by the authorities of Weinan, in the central province of Shaanxi. The reason for his arrest has not been announced, but it was Zhao who printed "The Great Migration," a book by journalist Xie Chaoping that seems to have been the reason for Xie's arrest in Weinan on 19 August.

"Two men are now being held for writing and printing this book about the human impact of the Sanmenxia Dam, which was built across the Yellow River during Mao's Great Leap Forward in the 1950s," Reporters Without Borders said. "When will the Chinese authorities accept that journalists and academics can write about contemporary Chinese history without posing a threat?"

The press freedom organisation added: "We appeal to Prime Minister Wen Jiabao to intercede on behalf of Xie and Zhao and obtain their release without delay."

Both Zhao's family and Xie's wife confirmed the arrest of Zhao, who printed Xie's book in the form of a supplement in the newspaper Huohua (The Spark).

Xie's lawyer said the police forced Xie to name the printer. Colleagues of Zhao have also been interrogated by the police.

A Chinese researcher specialising in journalists' rights said the probable outcome of the arrests would be that those involved in publishing the book would be prosecuted on charges of "illegal commercial practices."

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