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
October 17, 2014 -- Updated 1113 GMT (1913 HKT)
A smuggler in Dandong, a Chinese border town near North Korea, tells CNN about the underground trade with North Korean soldiers
October 17, 2014 -- Updated 0654 GMT (1454 HKT)
Yenn Wong got quite a surprise one morning earlier this month when she found out an exact copy of her Hong Kong restaurant had opened in China.
October 15, 2014 -- Updated 0315 GMT (1115 HKT)
When I first came across a "virtual lover" service on e-commerce site Taobao, China's version of Amazon, I thought it was hype.
October 14, 2014 -- Updated 1315 GMT (2115 HKT)
Each year Yi Jiefeng does what she can to stop China turning into a desert.
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 1454 GMT (2254 HKT)
As its relationship with the West worsen, Russia is pivoting east in an attempt to secure business with China.
October 8, 2014 -- Updated 0229 GMT (1029 HKT)
Aspiring Chinese comics performing in Shanghai's underground comedy scene hope to bring stand-up to the masses.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1654 GMT (0054 HKT)
Liu Wen is one of the world's highest-paid models and the first Chinese face to crack the top five in Forbes' annual list of top earners.
October 3, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
Cunning wolf? Working class hero? Or bland Beijing loyalist? C.Y. Leung was a relative unknown when he came to power in 2012.
October 2, 2014 -- Updated 1125 GMT (1925 HKT)
App hopes to help those seeking a way out of China's overstrained public health system.
October 3, 2014 -- Updated 0020 GMT (0820 HKT)
Yards from pro-democracy protests, stands the Hong Kong garrison of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), China's armed forces.
October 2, 2014 -- Updated 1123 GMT (1923 HKT)
The massive street rallies that have swept Hong Kong present a major dilemma for China's leadership.
September 27, 2014 -- Updated 0707 GMT (1507 HKT)
Chinese wine drinkers need to develop a taste for the cheap stuff, not just premium red wines like Lafite.
September 24, 2014 -- Updated 0109 GMT (0909 HKT)
The Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader, set off a media kerfuffle this month when he spoke about his next reincarnation.
September 28, 2014 -- Updated 1418 GMT (2218 HKT)
He's one of the fieriest political activists in Hong Kong — he's been called an "extremist" by China's state-run media — and he's not old enough to drive.
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 0257 GMT (1057 HKT)
China has no wine-making tradition but the country now uncorks more bottles of red than any other.
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 0929 GMT (1729 HKT)
Christians in eastern China keep watch in Wenzhou, where authorities have demolished churches and removed crosses.
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 0538 GMT (1338 HKT)
Home-grown hip-hop appeals to a younger generation but its popularity has not translated into record deals and profits for budding rap artists.