Reporters Without Borders (RSF) submitted yesterday an application to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) on behalf of Chinese cartoonist Jiang Yefei, 50, who was arrested in Thailand in 2015 and sentenced to six and a half years in prison in China last month for "subversion of state power" and "illegal crossing of the border.” RSF’s submission purposes to obtain an official recognition of the arbitrary nature of Jiang’s detention and to allow the UN to publicly question China on the subject.
"Jiang Yefei has done nothing that could justify his detention under the Chinese constitution, which explicitly guarantees freedom of the press and freedom of expression," said Cédric Alviani, director of Reporters Without Borders East Asia office. Considering that the cartoonist was granted refugee status by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Alviani urges Chinese authorities to "let Jiang settle in Canada with his family, which he was preparing for when he was unduly arrested."
Jiang Yefei, known for his satirical drawings published by US online magazine Boxun, had been a refugee in Thailand since 2008. On October 28, 2015, he was arrested at the request of Chinese authorities and "repatriated" in the same aircraft as Swedish publisher Gui Minhai, who is at the moment still detained in China with no trial date. RSF recently filed a similar application for Gui to the UN.
China ranks 176th out of 180 in the 2018 RSF World Press Freedom Index.