Du Bin’s Disappearance Has Drawn International Attention

Du Bin, a freelance writer who filmed the documentary Above the Ghosts' Heads: The Women of Masanjia Labour Camp, and edited the book Tiananmen Massacre, has been missing for more than a week. Amnesty International appealed to the Chinese authorities to immediately clarify his whereabouts. (Screenshot)
Du Bin, a freelance writer who filmed the documentary Above the Ghosts' Heads: The Women of Masanjia Labour Camp, and edited the book Tiananmen Massacre, has been missing for more than a week. Amnesty International appealed to the Chinese authorities to immediately clarify his whereabouts. (Screenshot)

Du Bin, a freelance writer who filmed the documentary Above the Ghosts’ Heads: The Women of Masanjia Labour Camp, and edited the book Tiananmen Massacre, has been missing for more than a week. Amnesty International appealed to the Chinese authorities to immediately clarify his whereabouts.

The victim groups of Masanjia Labour Camp plan to stage a protest advocating for Du’s release. Insiders said that on the night of May 31, 10 police officers from the Beijing municipal public security bureau and the local police station (two men wore uniforms, the rest wore civilian clothes), secretly arrested Du Bin at his residence located on Youanmenwai Street in Beijing’s Fengtai District.

The police also searched through the large number of books and video materials that contained information concerning petitioners as well as the “6-4” event. The police sealed Du’s residence. No one could enter, including his landlord.

Who is Du Bin?

Born in 1972, Du Bin is a freelance writer and an independent documentary filmmaker, as well as a former New York Times contract photographer. He has been filming the struggle of petitioners for a long time and has published several books and video works.

Du Bin has collected a large number of scattered “6-4” (Tiananmen Square massacre) data from the Chinese underground book market. Since 2011, the Chinese Foreign Ministry refused to issue him a permit to work for The New York Times.

In April, Du Bin released the documentary Above the Ghosts’ Heads: The Women of Masanjia Labour Camp, which exposes the extreme torture inside Masanjia Women’s Forced Labour Camp in Liaoning Province.

At the end of May, Du Bin also published his compiled book Tiananmen Massacre in Hong Kong, which was the first book about the truth of the “6-4” incident by an editor who currently lives in Mainland China.

Human rights activist Hu Jia told Deutsche Welle that activities across the country mourning the “6-4” event increased significantly this year. Especially, there was a surge of mourning in various forms on the Chinese web community micro blog (Weibo). Authorities have accordingly installed more severe punishments for “6-4” protests.

Masanjia victims will stage a protest

Hu Jia, who took part in the shooting of Du Bin’s documentary Above the Ghosts’ Heads: The Women of Masanjia Labour Camp, said he knew about the hardships involved in the making of this film and he deeply admired Du Bin’s courage and professionalism.

After Du Bin went missing, Hu Jia made several efforts to find him, calling the Beijing Public Security Bureau many times to try and find out what had happened. The police denied that Du had been secretly arrested and claimed that Hu could not file a missing person case since he was not an immediate family member of Du.

 

masanjia labour camp du bin

The female lead in Above the Ghosts’ Heads: The Women of Masanjia Labour Camp, Liu Hua, told Deutsche Welle that Du Bin (pictured above) was suffering from chronic fatigue at the time of his secret arrest. (Screenshot)

It is reported that The New York Times Beijing branch correspondent has questioned the Beijing police about the disappearance of its former employee, Du Bin. The police refused to respond to the inquiries, claiming there was “missing detailed ID information”. Dissident artist Ai Weiwei also made an appeal for the release of Du Bin on Twitter.

Meanwhile, the female lead in Above the Ghosts’ Heads: The Women of Masanjia Labour Camp, Liu Hua, has contacted dozens of victims from the Masanjia Labour Camp to stage a protest to the Beijing authorities for Du’s release. She told Deutsche Welle that Du Bin was sick at the time of his secret arrest, having long suffered from chronic fatigue.

Related Article: Social Justice in China: China’s Forced Labour Camps

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