Chinese blogger Zhang Jialong is being held in pretrial detention for allegedly “picking quarrels and provoking trouble.” Guiyang police arrested Zhang, a former editor of Tencent Finance, on August 12, 2019.
Zhang ran a blog where he wrote about Chinese authorities’ crackdown on internet and media since 2014. He also publicly opposed China’s “Great Firewall,” which blocks political sensitive information and foreign news websites in the country, according to news reports. While working as a reporter for Caijing magazine in 2010, Zhang wrote a blog post about authorities’ demolition of artist Ai Weiwei’s studio. In 2011, Beijing police detained Zhang for 10 days for tweeting about taxi drivers’ plan to strike, according Radio Free Asia.
Police detained Zhang on August 12, 2019, in Guiyang, Guizhou province, for allegedly “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” according to news reports and a family member who spoke to CPJ on the condition of anonymity, citing fear of negative repercussions for Zhang’s case.
The family member told CPJ that the Guiyang Public Security Bureau issued an official arrest notice to the family on August 14, 2019, and Zhang’s lawyer was granted a meeting with Zhang on September 17. The lawyer told Zhang’s family that authorities arrested Zhang for comments and articles he made before 2017.
In February 2014, while working for Tencent Finance, a finance news website owned by the Chinese conglomerate Tencent, Zhang met with then-U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and asked Kerry to help tear down the Great Firewall, according to news reports. Zhang was subsequently fired by Tencent for allegedly leaking company secrets in May of that year, he wrote in a blog post; he wrote that he believed Tencent fired him because of his meeting with Kerry.
In April 2014, Zhang did an interview with CBS News about his firing and China’s crackdown on journalists.
Zhang’s family member told CPJ that the Guiyang People’s Procuratorate is handling the case. When Zhang’s family tried to speak with the prosecutor who is in charge of Zhang’s case on October 16, 2019, an officer at the procuratorate told them that the case was still under police investigation and said they would be notified when the investigation concludes, the family member told CPJ.
On May 13, 2020, the Guiyang City Court tried Zhang, but did not announce any verdict, according to news reports.
Zhang is being held at the Nanming District Detention Center in Guiyang as of late 2020, according to his family member and those news reports. No verdict had been announced as of late 2020, according to Zhang’s family member.
In late 2020, the Guiyang Public Security Bureau did not respond to an email from CPJ requesting comment.