(New York, NY) — The detention of writer and filmmaker Du Bin in Beijing appears to be another instance of the politically-motivated targeting of artists and other creatives within China, PEN America said today.

Du, a writer and documentary filmmaker, has reportedly been detained in Beijing for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” a common charge used against government critics, activists, and dissidents. Friends of Du have stated they believe his detention may have been connected to his work as a writer and documentarian.

“So far, the most likely explanation for Du’s detention is that someone in power didn’t like his work, something which is unfortunately easy to believe when one considers the government’s steadfast efforts to censor any narrative that diverges from their own,” said James Tager, deputy director of free expression research and policy. “This detention is an obvious act of state-sponsored repression. We call upon Beijing authorities to respect Du’s freedom of expression, drop any investigation against him, and release him from detention.”

Du’s books and documentaries commonly deal with historical inquiry, human rights abuses, and politics. According to friends, Du was preparing to publish a new book on communism in the Soviet Union, to be released January 1. He was previously detained in 2013 for over a month after releasing a documentary about forced labor in China.