Chinese editor and reporter Yang Zhengjun being held in pretrial detention on accusations of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” since early 2019. Yang is a reporter and editor for the labor rights news website Xinshengdai (New Generation), formerly known as ILabour.net. He covered labor rights issues and the prevalence of black lung disease among Chinese workers, along with editors Wei Zhili and Yang Zhengjun, who were also arrested by Shenzhen police, according to news reports and Xinshengdai.
Shenzhen police arrested Yang in Guangzhou on the night of January 8, 2019, for allegedly “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” in apparent retaliation for his reporting, and detained him at the Shenzhen City No. 2 Detention Center, according to news reports and Xinshengdai.
Yang started covering the black lung epidemic among Chinese workers and labor abuses as early as 2008, according to Xinshengdai. Yang, Wei, and Ke were originally held at the 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, according news reports and ILabour.net.
On August 5, 2019, Shenzhen police told Wei’s family that the trio had been transferred back to the detention center and were “formally arrested,” according to Wei’s wife, the feminist writer Zheng Churan, who spoke to CPJ via messaging app in September 2019.
An officer at the Shenzhen Public Security Bureau told CPJ in a phone call that he had no information regarding Yang’s case in late 2019 In late 2020, the number listed on the bureau’s website was no longer in service. CPJ contacted Wei, Ke, and Yang’s families but they declined to comment in late 2020.
CPJ was unable to determine Yang’s state of health as of late 2020.