Three journalists detained on extortion charges in Gansu

The International Federation of Journalists urges police authorities of Wuwei city, in the Gansu province to immediately release information about the detention of three journalists on 9 January 2016. The IFJ calls on the local government to ensure transparency throughout the investigation.

Zhang Yongsheng, from the Lanzhou Morning Post, Luo Huansu, from the Lanzhou Evening Post and Zhang Zhenguo from Western Business News were detained by Wuwei police, on allegations of extortion against the government and individuals. The police did not provide any further information, yet voiced suspicion over claims the trio covered news together. Another Chinese journalist told the IFJ that Yongsheng was originally accused of prostitution but the charge was later changed to extortion without any given reason. However, Yongsheng and Huansu have been covering a lot of so-called “negative news” lately, leading the media industry to believe that this is the real reason for their detention.

The Lanzhou Evening Post has retained a lawyer for Huansu and demanded a visit with her as stipulated under the Criminal Procedural Law. Under Article 37 of the Law, defence lawyers are entitled to talk to suspects in order to understand the details of the case. However the IFJ was told that the lawyer’s application was denied without any given reason.

The IFJ Asia Pacific Office said: “The IFJ urges the local Wuwei authorities to ensure the investigation into Yongsheng, Huansu and Zhenguo is transparent and follow the rule of law. The authorities must immediately allow the lawyers access to Luo Huansu, as well as provide information regarding the charges the trio are facing.”

The IFJ further reminds the All China Journalists Association to defend the rights of media workers and demand the Government of Wuwei to investigate the case and ensure the legal protection of detained journalists. 

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946 

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 139 countries

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