Chinese journalist Liu Wei’an is serving a sentence of 14 years on charges of extortion and accepting bribes. Guangzhou police arrested Liu in Guangdong province on June 5, 2013.
The Shaoguan People’s Procuratorate, a state legal body, issued a statement in June 2013 that said Liu and Hu Yazhu, a staff reporter for the official Guangdong Communist Party newspaper for Nanfang Daily arrested on June 21, 2013, had confessed 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, a freelance writer, 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 Weibo social media platform said they suspected the reporters’ arrests were in retaliation for their reports that exposed problems in the government and judiciary.
CPJ could not determine Liu’s health or status in late 2022. In September 2022, CPJ contacted the Shaoguan City People’s Procuratorate for comment via messaging app but did not receive any reply.