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Beijing Security Bureau confiscates magazine

(IFJ/IFEX) - 1 November 2010 - The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is disturbed to learn that the Beijing Security Bureau has confiscated copies of a free magazine.

Bureau officers confiscated The Holy Mountain, a Christian magazine published by Zhongfu Holy Mountain Institute, in Beijing on October by 27. They gave no explanation.

According to Radio Free Asia, Fan Yafeng, who is in charge of the magazine, said the printing company advised him that security bureau officers raided the printing premises and removed all the magazines.

The action is reminiscent of the confiscation of The Holy Mountain during the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008.

Fan, a well-known legal scholar and activist for religious freedom, is a signatory to Charter 08, the pro-democracy document signed by prominent journalists, writers, activists and academics. Liu Xiaobo, an initiator of the Charter 08 statement, was sentenced to 11 years' jail on December 25, 2009, accused of agitation to subvert the Government. Liu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last month.

Fan told Radio Free Asia that the security bureau may intend to charge him with illegally publishing a book for commercial sale. The Holy Mountain is a free magazine distributed to the Christian community in Beijing since 2007.

The move came as it was reported that a Christian writer, Yu Jie, and his wife had been placed under house arrest. According to a Twitter message on October 27, Yu said that Beijing security bureau officers had not permitted him to leave home or his wife to consult a doctor.

"The IFJ urges China's authorities to recognise that the confiscation of the magazine breaches Article 35 of China's Constitution, which enshrines the right to a free press," IFJ General Secretary Aidan White said.

"The IFJ calls on the Beijing Security Bureau to return the magazines to the publisher immediately, and refrain from further such breaches of the Constitution."

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