CPJ calls on authorities in Shenzhen, China to release labor journalists

August 9, 2019 1:57 PM ET

August 8, 2019

Xu Wenhai
Director
Shenzhen Municipal Public Security Bureau
4018 Jiefang Rd.,Luohu District
Shenzhen City, Guangdong Province, China 518001

Wang Yanlin
Prosecutor General
The People’s Procuratorate of Shenzhen City
1008 Sungang Hongling North Rd., Luohu District
Shenzhen City, Guangdong Province, China 518023

Sent via Fax: +86 755-84465145, +86 755-25868310

Dear Director Xu Wenhai and Prosecutor General Wang Yanlin,

The Committee to Protect Journalists, an independent press freedom advocacy organization, urges you to release journalists Yang Zhengjun, Wei Zhili, and Ke Chengbing, who are being held by Shenzhen police, and cease all legal proceedings against them.

Yang, Wei, and Ke are editors for the labor news outlet ILabour.net, which they joined in 2013. The outlet has consistently reported on labor rights issues and the prevalence of black lung disease among Chinese workers.

In apparent retaliation for this reporting, Shenzhen City police arrested Yang on January 8, and Wei and Ke on March 20, and charged the trio with “picking quarrels and provoking trouble.” The journalists were originally held at Shenzhen City No. 2 Detention Center, but were moved to undisclosed locations before their detentions could reach the center’s 37-day limit for criminal detention. Their whereabouts remain unknown, according news reports and ILabour’s new website.

We are deeply concerned about this unjust and retaliatory treatment. The abhorrent working conditions of workers in China should be a foremost concern of your city and your nation’s leadership. Fact-based reporting on such an important topic should be applauded, not punished, by authorities. Furthermore, the arrests and detentions of the ILabour.net editors contradict the guarantees for freedom of the press found in the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China.

As the individuals charged with administering public security and enforcing criminal law in Shenzhen, you have the legal authority to determine which cases to pursue. We therefore urge you to drop all charges against these journalists, and release them immediately and unconditionally.

Sincerely,

Steven Butler
Asia Program Coordinator
Committee to Protect Journalists

CC:

Wang Dongming, Chairman
All-China Federation of Trade Union
[email protected]

Song Yiyang, Director
Pingshan District Public Security Bureau
Fax +86 755-84443125

Wang Xiangyang, Prosecutor General
The People’s Procuratorate of Pingshan District, Shenzhen City
Fax:+86 755—23257501

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