Chinese columnist Dong Yuyu has been detained since February 21, 2022, and is being held at the state security detention center in southern Beijing while awaiting the verdict of his trial over espionage charges.
Dong is a columnist for the state-run newspaper Guangming Daily. He began working at the Guangming Daily in 1987, previously contributed to the New York Times, and has won numerous awards for his columns and editing, according to the U.S. National Press Club.
On February 21, 2022, police in Beijing arrested Dong while he was having lunch with a Japanese diplomat and charged him with espionage. The Japanese diplomat was also detained for hours before being released.
CPJ was not aware of his arrest until April 2023, when Dong’s family released a statement, and he was not included in CPJ’s 2022 prison census. Dong’s family said in the statement they kept his detention private in hopes that the charges could be reduced or dropped but went public after they were informed that his case would be sent to trial.
In October 2023, Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow Ian Johnson, who is in contact with Dong’s family, told CPJ that Dong was put on trial on July 25 and should have been sentenced in September, but the sentencing has been delayed. A source familiar with the case told CPJ on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation that the trial lasted only five hours and ended in one day without a conviction.
His family and friends were not allowed to attend the trial, and journalists were also prohibited from covering the proceedings, according to the U.S. National Press Club.
As of late 2023, no verdict has been made public yet, and CPJ was unable to determine Dong’s health status.
CPJ’s email to China’s Foreign Ministry in October 2023 did not receive a reply.