Poets In Detention

Repression of speech is alive and well, and every time we tell ourselves that things are getting better, along comes news to sober us up. Chinese poet and journalist Shi Tao has been arrested.

National security bureau police from Changsha in the south, arrived at his home without official authorisation, arrested him and seized his computer and some personal files.

Before taking him away, they told his wife, Wang Huan, not to tell anyone about the arrest and certainly not the media, or her husband would be mistreated.

Reporters Without Borders is asking for his release. Elsewhere, Thomas Keneally led a protest last week in support of Sri Lankan poet Sarath Amarasinghe, who is seeking political asylum in Australia, after receiving death threats in his native country. Amarasinghe appears to have been denied refugee status by Australian Immigration.