The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) welcomes the release of Li Yuanlong, a reporter for Bijie Ribao daily newspaper in Guizhou province.
Yualong is the second journalist this week to complete a jail sentence imposed by the Chinese authorities and to be released on the promised date.
Yuanlong was first detained in September 2005. He was tried on May 11, 2006, for charges of “inciting subversion of state authority” and was sentenced two months later by the Bijie Intermediate People’s Court to serve two years in prison.
According to the US-based advocacy group Human Rights in China, Li told his lawyers that he decided to write and post online articles about poverty and unemployment in his home province after becoming frustrated with the editorial restrictions of his state-controlled newspaper.
IFJ Asia Pacific Director Jacqueline Park congratulates Li Yuanlong on his release from prison and urges the Chinese government to restore his civil rights, and particularly to refrain from interfering in Li Yuanlong’s return to working as a journalist.
“We commend Li on his professional integrity, his commitment to press freedom and to his decision to maintain his responsibility as a reporter to expose injustice and inequality in such a volatile media environment,” Park said.
“It is deplorable that a journalist should be imprisoned for demonstrating such dedication to open and transparent reporting,” she said.
The IFJ calls on journalists’ rights organisations around the world to remember both Li Yuanlong and the recently released Zhao Yan and to raise their voices in solidarity: to put pressure on governments to end the jailing of journalists as a means of silencing dissent and stifling freedom of expression.
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0919
The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 115 countries