China arrests journalist on charges of espionage

A Chinese journalist with a major state media outlet, known for his relatively liberal writings, has been arrested on charges of espionage, according to a media report.

Dong Yuyu (Source: CPJ)
Dong Yuyu (Source: CPJ)


A Chinese journalist at one of the country's major state media outlets, who's known for his relatively forthright and liberal writings, has been arrested on charges of espionage, his family members have said, according to a media report.

Dong Yuyu was detained in February 2022 after meeting with a Japanese diplomat who, it was reported at the time, was also taken for interrogation before being released, The Guardian reported.

Dong's family members kept his detention a secret in the hope of securing his release, but last month they were told his case was progressing to trial.

Under China's espionage laws, which are set to be broadened even further on Wednesday, Dong could face a jail sentence ranging from 10 years to life. China's notoriously opaque justice system has a conviction rate of more than 99 per cent, with next to no transparency for national security-related cases, The Guardian reported.

"People tried for espionage in China are almost always convicted, with the typical sentence being 10 years," said a statement from the leaders of the US National Press Club.

"Dong has not seen his family since he was detained and has been allowed to meet his lawyer in person only once," it added.

Dong's detention has been widely criticised by human rights and press freedom groups, as well as Harvard University's Niemen Foundation, where Dong was a fellow in 2007, The Guardian reported.

Critics say the editor appears to have been targeted over his connections and "normal interactions" with foreigners. Dong was well-known in the international circles in Beijing, and among western journalists and diplomats, The Guardian reported.

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