Chinese authorities detained an activist in the central province of Anhui on Tuesday after he reported that a cyber dissident was tortured in detention, his wife said.
Police also took away Li Wenge's personal computer hard disk drive after searching his home in Bengbu city.
“Seven or eight police officers from the National Security Bureau came to our home around 10 o’clock in the morning, and they took my husband away for 10 days of detention,” said Zhong Xuemei, Li’s wife.
“I don’t know why he was detained and he did nothing wrong,” Zhong added.
Zhong was formally informed about her husband's detention when she went to a nearby police station to send his personal items.
“The notice said Li Wenge was detained for ‘disturbing social order,’” the wife told RFA.
She said the police notice indicated that his detention was over a report written by him and Wuhan-based dissident Qin Yongmin about dissident writer Wu Lebao who was allegedly tortured while in detention in Bengbu.
"It alleges that my husband distorted the facts, spreading slander against the [Chinese] Communist Party,” Zhong said.
Wu was detained for more than three months earlier this year for posting articles critical of the government on the Internet.
On his release at the end of last month, reports about his torture in detention surfaced.
Li and Qin sent out an online appeal for an investigation into the case, condemning what they called police atrocities.
However, their petition led to a police crackdown.
On Nov. 16, police in Wuhan searched Qin’s home and also confiscated his computer hard drive and put him on a 10-day detention. Qin is expected to be released later this week.
“I believe that the detention of Mr. Li Wenge has two reasons,” said Chengdu-based dissident Huang Qi in an interview on Tuesday.
“The first one is that he launched an appeal for released rights activist Wu Lebao who was tortured during his detention. And the second one is that Li supported a series of campaigns against human rights abuses in the southern province of Guangdong,” Huang explained.
Huang pointed out that Li has been one of the leading human rights activists in China, saying he worked on a low profile but relentlessly exposed human rights violations.
Huang warned the Chinese authorities against continuing with the crackdown.
“The people’s rights campaign in China has currently developed to a stage where the authorities are beginning to have dialogues with rights activists. Under these circumstances, any local people or organization who clamps down on rights activists will be nailed on the 'Pillar of Shame.'”
Reported by Qiao Long for RFA's Mandarin service. Translated and written in English by Ping Chen.