A Chinese journalist who vanished from Thailand while seeking refuge there last month has re-emerged in China, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing his wife.
He Fangmei said Wednesday the circumstances of Li Xin (李新)’s disappearance closely resemble those of other recent missing-persons cases.
Li told his wife he had willingly returned to China and is now under investigation for an alleged crime that he didn’t specify, He said.
“I know it was all their words, and that Li Xin was speaking against his wishes,” she said, after being summoned to the police station in her husband’s hometown in Henan province to take a call from him Wednesday.
Li told He not to contact others about his case and didn’t say where in China he was or how he had got there, she said.
Li, a former editor for the website of Southern Metropolis Daily, a newspaper based in Guangzhou, left China in autumn for India, where he told the international press he had been forced to work in China as a government informant.
He later traveled to Thailand and last text-messaged his wife Jan. 11 from near the Thailand-Laos border, she said.
Li told her he was going to Laos to extend his Thai visa, after which he planned to return to Thailand to apply for asylum in Bangkok, He said.
Li is the third person in recent months to disappear abroad and reappear in China.
In October, Hong Kong bookseller and publisher Gui Minhai disappeared from his vacation home in Thailand before emerging on Chinese state television last month to confess to jumping bail more than a decade earlier.
Four of Gui’s colleagues from Hong Kong have also vanished and are thought to be in mainland China.
Other people have been repatriated from Thailand to China in recent months under circumstances that rights groups say test the limits of international law, the Journal said.
In July, Thailand sent 109 members of the Uyghur minority back to China.
Official Chinese news agency Xinhua said the Uyghurs had been on their way to Turkey, Syria or Iraq to take part in Islamic militant activity, and that 13 of them had fled China after being implicated in terrorist activities.
Xinhua said the transfer was in accordance with a Thai-Chinese police-cooperation arrangement.
In November, Thailand deported two Chinese dissidents, both of whom had been recognized as refugees by the United Nations and were awaiting resettlement in Canada.
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