State security agents are trying to track down the mysterious author of a short letter published online, calling for the resignation of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Since the letter first appeared on Canyu, a U.S.-based Chinese language website edited by a human rights activist named Cai Chu, more than two dozen people believed to have some connection to the letter have been detained, The Guardian reports. The letter, addressed to "Comrade Xi Jinping" and signed "loyal Communist party members," says the authors feel Xi does not "possess the capabilities to lead the party and the nation into the future, and we believe that you are no longer suitable for the post of general secretary."
After the letter appeared on Canyu, it showed up on the Chinese news site Wujie; censors took it down that day, the site was shut down, and authorities detained several staff members, The Guardian reports. Several exiled journalists also say their relatives have been detained in China and questioned about any ties they may have to the letter. As Chinese officials continue their search for the writer, and experts discuss whether or not this is all a prank or actual Communist Party dissent, William Nee of Amnesty International in Hong Kong says Xi's plan is "backfiring. Conducting an aggressive manhunt against anyone allegedly involved in commenting on the letter only serves to put more attention on the letter, giving it a longer shelf life."