Group: China's secret police detains documentary-maker
June 14, 2013 -- Updated 2257 GMT (0657 HKT)
Author Du Bin poses with his book "God Ai," said to be the first biography of dissident artist Ai Weiwei.
- Rights Group: Author, filmmaker and activist Du Bin has been detained by police in China
- Du was last seen in May, the same month he released a documentary on a China labor camp
- Family members found two copies of a police subpoena at Du's residence in Beijing
Beijing (CNN) -- A Chinese journalist, whose work exposed alleged human rights abuses of the government, has been detained by secret police in Beijing, said a close friend and human rights groups.
Du Bin released a feature-length documentary on the notorious Masanjia labor camp in May. He vanished later that month, says Hu Jia, an activist and friend of Du.
Hu says the last time Du's friends heard from him was 10 p.m. on May 31. Friends went to his apartment to look for him the next day but no one answered the door.
Hu says family members found two copies of an unsigned police subpoena at Du's residence in Beijing.
Copies of the alleged warrants viewed by CNN suggest that Du faces allegations including disturbing public order.
Broken by China's labor camps
Hu says they have heard from two separate eyewitnesses that Du was taken into detention by force. "We confirmed that Du Bin was taken by 10 secret police. Two in uniform and the rest in plain clothes," says Hu.
"Du Bin is a very respected professional photographer, documentary film-maker and author with a distinguished record of collaboration with international media organizations," says Nicholas Bequelin, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch.
Du recently released a book on the Tiananmen massacre that was published in Hong Kong.
His documentary on Masanjia focused on interviews with former inmates of the labor camp.
China maintains an extensive network of labor camps across the country used to punish petty criminals like prostitutes and thieves.
But activists say they are used by the government to detain political activists and members of the outlawed religious group Falun Gong.
READ MORE China's forced labor camps: One woman's fight for justice
Hu said that most of Du's belongings had been taken from his residence including his laptops, copies of his books, and hardware used to edit his documentary.
CNN sought comment on Du's whereabouts from the Ministry of Public Security, which did not respond to our requests.
"Du Bin's detention on criminal charges is a worrying signal about the attitude of the new leadership towards dissent. The charges against him are unfounded and a transparent strategy for the authorities to silence him and intimidate others," says Bequelin.
"We believe that he is at risk of torture."
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 0551 GMT (1351 HKT)
David McKenzie meets some American teenagers who are spending a year in China to be fully immersed in the culture.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 0259 GMT (1059 HKT)
The Chinese government pledges to protect a boy with HIV, who was shunned by his entire village in Sichuan, state media reported.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
A Chinese couple allegedly threw hot water on a flight attendant and threatened to blow up the plane.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 0503 GMT (1303 HKT)
China's 1.3 billion citizens may soon find it much harder to belt out their national anthem at will.
December 10, 2014 -- Updated 0021 GMT (0821 HKT)
Los Angeles in the last century went through its own smog crisis. The city's mayor says LA's experience delivers valuable lessons for Beijing.
December 6, 2014 -- Updated 0542 GMT (1342 HKT)
At the height of his power, security chief Zhou Yongkang controlled China's police, spy agencies and courts. Now, he's under arrest.
December 5, 2014 -- Updated 0826 GMT (1626 HKT)
China says it will end organ transplants from executed prisoners but tradition means that donors are unlikely to make up the shortfall.
December 5, 2014 -- Updated 0648 GMT (1448 HKT)
China's skylines could look a lot more uniform in the years to come, if a statement by a top Beijing official is to believed.
December 3, 2014 -- Updated 0855 GMT (1655 HKT)
Despite a high-profile anti-corruption drive, China's position on an international corruption index has deteriorated in the past year.
November 26, 2014 -- Updated 1201 GMT (2001 HKT)
A daring cross-border raid by one of Russian President Vladimir Putin's associates has -- so far -- yet to sour Sino-Russian relations.
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 0051 GMT (0851 HKT)
A 24-hour bookstore in Taipei is a popular hangout for both hipsters and bookworms.
November 25, 2014 -- Updated 0153 GMT (0953 HKT)
China is building an island in the South China Sea that could accommodate an airstrip, according to IHS Jane's Defence Weekly.
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 1057 GMT (1857 HKT)
North Korean refugees and defectors face a daunting journey to reach asylum in South Korea, with gangs of smugglers the only option.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 2319 GMT (0719 HKT)
China and "probably one or two other" countries have the capacity to shut down the nation's power grid and other critical infrastructure.