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Chinese poet who compiled Liu Xiaobo poetry anthology released on bail, but with conditions

Guangdong poet Langzi, who helped compile an anthology of poems in memory of prominent dissident Liu Xiaobo, has been released on bail after being detained for over a month. But the poet says that his case was not withdrawn, meaning his release comes with conditions.

Wu Mingliang, better known by his pen name Langzi, was taken from his home by police officers and criminally detained on August 18 on suspicion of “illegal business operations.” He was released on bail on Friday along with his friend Peng Heping, who previously helped Wu publish his work.

langzi meng lang

Langzi (L) and Meng Lang (R). File photo: VOA.

Wu returned to his home in Guangzhou, but his cell phone and other items are still in the possession of police, US-backed Voice of America quoted Wu as saying in a report.

“I cannot leave the country, I cannot leave Guangzhou, every three months I have to report to Guangzhou police. My computer, tablet and cell phone are still at the police station, they said they were tools in the case, and they have to keep them,” he said.

The poet’s friends believe that he was detained for taking part in writing, editing and compiling an anthology of poems commemorating the prominent dissident, who died of liver cancer in July while serving an 11-year sentence for subversion.

China received international criticism for its treatment of Liu, the only Nobel laureate to die in custody since German pacifist Carl von Ossietzky, who passed away in a hospital while held by the Nazis in 1938.

The Independent Chinese PEN Centre, of which Wu is a member, previously launched a petition calling for his release, which was signed by several attendees at the PEN International Congress in Lviv last week.

liu xiaobo march

Hongkongers march in memory of Liu Xiaobo. File photo: In-Media.

Meng Lang, a Taiwan-based writer who organised the compilation of the anthology, said that those who were detained for commemorating Liu Xiaobo and jailed human rights lawyers were suppressed for exercising their freedom of speech.

“Whether there is the 19th party congress or not, anyone who was deemed to have committed a crime for their speech, citizens who were arrested for taking part in human rights or rights defense-related activities should be immediately released, unconditionally released,” he said.

The Chinese government usually increases surveillance on known dissidents around major events, and security is expected to tighten as the Communist Party congress on October 18 approaches.

Meng also called for the release of Liu’s widow Liu Xia, who reportedly remains under house arrest.

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Chinese poet who compiled Liu Xiaobo poetry anthology released on bail, but with conditions