I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I’m feeling a little hopeless about Global Voices editor Hao Wu’s situation. We’ve written politicians, talked to the press, gotten great support from GVO fans and fellow bloggers, but it’s very hard to know if any of this attention has had any affect at all on the state security officials detaining Hao in Beijing.
The latest news we’ve gotten from his sister Nina is that her request for a lawyer for Hao has been formally denied. He’s no longer being “detained” – instead he’s “living under surveillance”. There’s no difference in practical terms – we don’t know where he is, he can’t leave where he’s being held, and his family can’t see him or communicate with him. The government can legally keep him “under surveillance” for only six months… then again, they detained him long past the legal limit under Chinese law.
Despite my sadness and frustration about Hao’s situation – and about my friend Alaa, who is being detained by Egyptian authorities in Cairo – I’m thrilled that the Global Voices community is starting to mobilize around the idea that we need to help protect and advocate for bloggers around the world. We are, unsurprisingly, starting with our own, trying to call attention to Alaa and Hao Wu’s situations… but we’re also trying learn what we can about what techniques do and don’t work, so we can help the next blogger who, inevitably, will be detained for something she does or writes. Please check out the new page our editor Rachel Rawlins has put together detailing some actions you can take to help Hao and Alaa… and let me know what you think we could be doing better, on Global Voices and elsewhere, to help get our friends released.