Chinese journalist Hu Yazhu is serving a sentence of 13 years on charges of extortion and accepting bribes. Guangzhou police arrested Hu, a staff reporter for the official Guangdong Communist Party newspaper Nanfang Daily, on June 21, 2013.
The Shaoguan People’s Procuratorate, a state legal body, issued a statement in June 2013 that said Hu and freelance writer Liu Wei’an had been arrested in Guangdong province after confessing to accepting bribes while covering events in the northern city of Shaoguan.
Hu and Liu were sentenced to 13 years and 14 years in prison respectively in June 2014 for accepting bribes and for extortion, according to Shaoguan Daily, a government-run newspaper.
Hu and Liu had both written articles published in 2011 in Nanfang Daily and on news websites about a dispute involving the illegal extraction of rare minerals in Shaoguan, according to news reports.
The prosecutors’ statement said Hu and Liu accepted 493,000 yuan (about US$82,200) in bribes. The pair were stripped of their press cards and banned from journalism for life, according to the National Radio and Television Administration.
Users on the social media service Weibo said they suspected the reporters’ arrests were in retaliation for their reports that exposed problems in the government and judiciary.
Hu’s wife Zhan Ying told CPJ in a phone interview that Hu appealed his conviction in 2015 and 2019, but both appeals were rejected.
In late 2022, Hu was being held in Tiebei Prison in Changchun, northeastern Jilin province. Zhan told CPJ she last she visited him in 2021 and was unsure of his condition. In September 2022, CPJ contacted the Shaoguan City People’s Procuratorate for comment via messaging app but did not receive any reply.