China: RSF urges for release of prominent journalist accused of espionage
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls for the release of state-run Guangming Daily newspaper journalist Dong Yuyu, who has been detained for more than a year and faces a ten-year prison term for spurious charges of “espionage”.
Dong Yuyu, 61, deputy editor and columnist of state-run media Guangming Daily newspaper, who also was a New York Times contributor, has been detained for more than a year under charges of “espionage” and faces at least ten years in prison, his family revealed on 24 April 2023 despite the regime's pressure. No date has been announced yet for Dong’s trial and the only evidence presented by the authorities so far are his contacts with foreign diplomats and overseas academic fellowships he received.
“It is only natural for a journalist to be connected with foreign diplomats and academics as sources, and it is just ridiculous for the Chinese regime to brand such connections as espionage. We call on the international community to step up its pressure on the Chinese regime so they release Dong as well as all other journalists and press freedom defenders detained in China.
Dong Yuyu was taken into custody on 21 February 2022 while meeting a Japanese diplomat at a hotel in Beijing and was first held incommunicado for six months before being later formally arrested. In 2017, the journalist was threatened with demotion after an investigation by party authorities concluded that his articles were considered "anti-socialist".
Since Chinese leader Xi Jinping took power in 2012, he began a crusade against journalism as revealed in RSF’s report The Great Leap Backwards of Journalism in China, which details Beijing’s efforts to control information and media within and outside its borders.
China ranks 175th out of 180 in the 2022 RSF World Press Freedom Index and is the world's largest captor of journalists and press freedom defenders with at least 115 detained.