December 6, 2019

China: RSF calls for the release of citizen-journalist Lu Yuyu for medical reasons

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) urges China to release citizen-journalist Lu Yuyu, 2016 RSF Press Freedom Prize laureate, who is denied of medical treatment.

Lu Yuyu, 2016 RSF Press Freedom Prize laureate, recently communicated through a friend that he suffers from severe depression and is prevented from seeing a doctor and contacting his lawyer. Lu, a citizen-journalist who documented China's growing social unrest since 2012, was sentenced in 2017 to four years in prison for “picking quarrels and stirring up trouble,” a deliberately vague charge often used by the regime to silence critics.

“By depriving Lu Yuyu from receiving the medical assistance he needs, the Chinese authorities trample on their own code of criminal procedure, which specifically guarantees the medical rights of inmates in article 265,” says Cédric Alviani, the head of RSF’s East Asia bureau, calling for the “immediate release of Lu Yuyu as well as all other journalists and bloggers detained in China.”

Lu Yuyu and his partner Li Tingyu founded the blog Not News in 2012 on which they posted information about over 30,000 strikes and protests that happened throughout China. Both were arrested in Dali, southern province of Yunnan, in 2016 and Li Tingyu was later released on bail. Lu Yuyu was previously the victim of ill-treatment while in custody and filed a complaint over torture in 2016.

China is the largest prison in the world for journalists and ranks 177th out of 180 countries and territories in the RSF World Press Freedom Ranking 2019.