China: RSF calls for release of investigative journalist specialising in corruption detained for already one month

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) urges the Chinese regime to release senior investigative journalist Shangguan Yunkai. Well-known for his investigations into official corruption, he has been detained for the past month on trumped-up charges for which he faces 5 years in prison.

20 May 2023 marks one month since senior freelance Chinese investigative journalist Shangguan Yunkai, known for his investigations on the corruption of Chinese officials, was taken away by the police in the city of Ezhou in Hubei province (east-central China). Shangguan, aged 57, is accused of "picking quarrels and provoking trouble” as well as “selling fake medicine”, two charges that carry respectively sentences of 5 and 3 years in prison.

Shangguan Yunkai only serves the public interest by investigating corruption, and is obviously being detained on trumped-up charges as a retribution for his reporting worksWe urge the international community to build up pressure on the Chinese authorities to secure Shangguan’s release alongside all other journalists and press freedom defenders detained in the country.

Cédric Alviani
RSF East Asia Bureau Director

Over the past years, Shangguan has been working in state-run newspaper Legal Daily and running several groups on WeChat, the leading social media in China, in which he shared clues and evidence of officials' violations of discipline and law. Recently, he published a series of articles in which he revealed the wrongdoings of several officials in the city of Ezhou, where he has been arrested. In the 1990s, his investigations, which revealed the corruption of Xu Penghang, then vice-governor of Hubei province, led to Xu dismissal.

Since 2012, in line with Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s crusade against the right to information, the Beijing’s regime has stepped up its crackdown on investigative journalists, such as Huang Xueqin, a figure of China’s #MeToo movement, who has been detained since September 2021 and who faces a 15 years jail sentence for “inciting subversion of state power”.

China ranks 179th out of 180 in the 2023 RSF World Press Freedom Index and is the world's largest captor of journalists and press freedom defenders with at least 114 detained.

172/ 180
Score : 23.36
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