Noted campaigner against 'Great Firewall' detained

World | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 16 Aug 2019

China has detained a former journalist who gained prominence after urging the US to help "tear down" Beijing's online censorship regime during a 2014 meeting with top US diplomat John Kerry.

Police detained Zhang Jialong Tuesday for "picking quarrels and provoking troubles."

"Police came to our house at about 9.40pm on Monday and said they had to take him to the station for questioning," said Zhang's wife, who only offered her last name Shao. "They only notified us Wednesday morning that he was detained."

Zhang also urged the US to deny visas to Chinese censors in an article published in the Foreign Policy magazine in February 2014.

He was fired from his job at internet firm Tencent shortly after his meeting with Kerry, during which he requested his help to "tear down the Great Firewall of censorship." He said that was a reprisal for his activism.

"Zhang wasn't able to find any stable work after he lost his job at Tencent. He was tutoring students to make ends meet," said Shao. "Our daughter just turned two months old. I feel really helpless."

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