Taipei, December 18, 2020 — Chinese authorities should immediately release journalist Du Bin and refrain from harassing and detaining members of the press, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
On the morning of December 16, police in Beijing arrested Du for allegedly “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” a criminal offense, according to news reports.
Du, a freelance filmmaker and photographer, has worked for the state-owned newspapers Beijing Youth Daily and Workers’ Daily, as well as international outlets including The New York Times, and often posts political commentary on his personal Facebook account, where he has about 1,000 followers, according to news reports and CPJ’s review of his posts.
According to those reports, police have questioned Du several times over the past year and have demanded Du delete posts from his Twitter account. CPJ was unable to find that account.
“By arresting Du Bin, China is only adding to its sorry record as the world’s worst jailer of journalists,” said CPJ Asia Program Coordinator Steven Butler, in Washington, D.C. “Du should be freed at once, and authorities should stop detaining members of the press.”
On the night of December 16, the Beijing City Daxing Public Security Bureau called Du’s sister Du Jirong, and notified her that Du has been detained, according to an interview his sister gave with The Epoch Times, a U.S.-based media company that reports critically on the Chinese government.
The New York Times reported that Du’s detention may be related to his ongoing historical book projects. Du’s newest book “Red Terror: Lenin’s Communist Experiment,” is scheduled to be published on January 1, 2021.
When CPJ called the Daxing Public Security Bureau in Beijing, an officer who answered said that he had no information regarding Du’s detention and hung up.
Du was previously detained for 37 days in 2013 on the same allegations, as CPJ documented at the time.
On December 1, CPJ found that at least 47 journalists have been imprisoned in China in 2020, making it the largest jailer of journalists worldwide for the second year in a row.
On December 11, Beijing police detained Haze Fan, a staff member of Bloomberg News, as CPJ documented at the time.