A well-known Chinese columnist has gone missing after warning former colleagues of the danger of re-publishing an open letter calling for President Xi Jinping to resign, the journalist’s lawyer says.
Jia Jia, who writes a regular column for Tencent Online, went missing late on Tuesday, around the time he was scheduled to board a flight from Beijing to Hong Kong, his lawyer, Yan Xin, said.
Before his scheduled departure, Jia had told friends that he believed something could happen to him after he had warned former colleagues about re-publishing the letter, Yan said.
Yan said Jia had told him that he had cautioned Ouyang Hongliang, a former colleague and an editor at the Watching news agency, after Watching had re-posted the letter.
Yan said Jia, a frequent commentator on political and social affairs, had told him that he had no connection to the letter, which was signed by a “loyal Communist party member”.
The letter was seen by Reuters on a cached page on Watching’s website. It could not be found on Watching when Reuters checked on Thursday. Reuters was also unable to reach Ouyang for comment.
The letter also circulated on Chinese social media including the WeChat messaging app before authorities apparently took it down.
Jia had planned to fly to Hong Kong, where he was sometimes based, to renew his work permit there, Yan said. Jia was due to give a lecture on the media at the Chinese University of Hong Kong on Thursday.
Family members and friends have not been able to reach him since, said Yan, who is based in Beijing.
Tencent Online did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment on Jia’s whereabouts.
It was unclear whether or not Jia has been taken into custody. Beijing law enforcement authorities could not be reached for comment. Read More