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IFJ urges action to find missing journalist

(IFJ/IFEX) - May 03, 2011 - The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is deeply concerned for the welfare of a junior magazine journalist who has been missing for three days in China.

Zhang Jialong, 23, who joined "Caijing" magazine as an intern journalist less than a year ago, disappeared on April 28, according to reports.

The journalist was reportedly at dinner when he was approached by a person who claimed to represent Beijing police and asked Zhang to depart with him. Zhang has not made contact with family, friends or his employer since.

Zhang's family has uploaded a missing person notice on a social networking website, http://www.szzse.com/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=1641 , asking people to inform them if they can provide any information about his situation. The content of the message has since disappeared, with only the title of the message remaining on the site.

"He is just a reporter - people should talk with his employer if there are any questions," Zhang's father said in the message before it was deleted.

Zhang has reported on some popular and sensitive subjects including missing artist Ai Weiwei and the aftermath of the 2008 Sanlu tainted milk scandal.

"The IFJ holds significant concerns that Zhang Jialong has become another member of the press to suffer under China's clampdown on free speech and freedom of association," IFJ Asia-Pacific said.

Since calls for "jasmine" revolution-style protests spread across China in early February, scores of people have disappeared without explanation. It is estimated that more than 100 people are being detained, including journalist Wen Tao and dissident artist Ai Weiwei, as well as human rights lawyers, human rights activists, bloggers and other artists, according to reports.

"We urge the Central Government of China to direct police to release Zhang and others illegally detained," IFJ Asia-Pacific said.

"Illegal detention is a clear violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the IFJ urges the United Nations to investigate all these cases as a matter of urgency."
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