Yang Zhengjun is the editor in chief of an independent website, iLabour.net/”New Generation” (Xinshengdai). The website publishes reports and stories on worker’s rights. Yang is also a prominent worker’s rights activist himself. He was detained on January 19 as he arrived at Guangzhou airport on a flight from New York.
Following his detention he was placed on ‘residential surveillance’.
IFJ’s Australian affiliate the Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA) has written to China’s Ambassador to Australiaregarding Yang’s detention, as he is a MEAA member. In the letter sent on April 13, MEAA said: “We believe this assault on an Australian citizen’s human rights, his interrogation and secret detention, casts a shadow over the working relationship of Australian journalists in China and calls into question their being able to perform their journalistic duties in safety and without harassment or intimidation from authorities.”
The IFJ said: “The detention of Yang Zhengjun for more than seven months without charge is a violation of his basic human rights, particularly as he has been denied access to his family and legal team during this time. The charges put to Yang are a blatant attempt by the Chinese authorities to silence critical voices. It is a tactic that they continue to use. We raise serious concerns about the free and fair trial that Yang would face in China. We call for his immediate release and for any charges to be dropped.”