Lu Yuyu, dissident jailed for reporting protests, finds refuge in Canada
Originally from Yunnan, he and his girlfriend Li Tingyu created a blog, "Not News", which documented 30,000 protests. After finding himself in the crosshairs of the authorities, he ended up behind bars for four years where he was ill-treated. Reporters without Borders kept public attention on his case.
Beijing (AsiaNews) – Lu Yuyu, a Chinese journalist who documented workers’ protests against the government for years, has reached Canada, where his girlfriend, Li Tingyu, had preceded him. She took part in his activities.
In China, Lu Yuyu was jailed between 2016 and 2020. On 23 June 2017, his trial began in a Yunnan court, ending in a conviction for “provoking trouble” and a four-year sentence.
During his time in prison, he was denied medical treatment and legal counsel.
Lu Yuyu and Li Tingyu had founded the “Not News" blog in 2012, where they posted information on tens of thousands of strikes and protests across China.
They were both arrested in 2016 in Dali, southern Yunnan province, but while Li Tingyu was eventually released on bail, Lu Yuyu was kept in prison and so badly treated that his lawyers filed a complaint for torture.
Lu said he couldn't sleep because of the bright lights at the detention centre, but when he tried to cover his eyes with a blanket, prison guards prevented him from doing so and beat him.
When Chinese authorities did not allow him to see a doctor, the "citizen journalist" began a hunger strike in protest.
Reporters without Borders (RsF) took up his cause, and for years, called on China’s Communist authorities to release him right away.
“By depriving Lu Yuyu from receiving the medical assistance he needs, the Chinese authorities trample on their own code of criminal procedure, which specifically guarantees the medical rights of inmates in article 265,” said Cédric Alviani, the head of RSF’s East Asia bureau.
In 2016, both Lu and Li were recognised by RsF for their work, which consisted mainly in gathering information through online platforms.
Lu, who was once a migrant worker from Guizhou province, was briefly detained in June 2012 for protesting in public. That experience gave him the idea of the "Not News" blog.
Chinese censors often deleted the material he and his girlfriend posted, whenever they deemed it “sensitive", especially after the manufacturing sector was hit hard by the country’s economic slowdown.
In 2015, almost 30,000 protests were documented, related to land grabs and strikes.
Prior to their arrest, the authorities had threatened Lu and Li several times, forcing them to move.