National Press Club Statement on China’s Delay Of Verdict In Yuyu Dong Case

WASHINGTON, Sept. 27, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Following is a statement from Eileen O’Reilly, president of the National Press Club, and Gil Klein, president of the National Press Club Journalism Institute, on the decision by China to delay a verdict in sentencing well-known Chinese journalist, Yuyu Dong for alleged acts of espionage.

China is the world’s No. 1 jailer of journalists, so convicting journalists as a form of punishment is nothing new for them. But, delaying the verdict in the espionage case of journalist Yuyu Dong may signal a new and very dangerous era has begun. Mr. Dong is not a spy, so China had no evidence to present at trial. They delayed the verdict until Sept. 27.

Now they are delaying again – for three months.  If they had even a shred of evidence they would have convicted him a year ago. Yet, Mr. Dong is the most senior and most prominent Chinese journalist known to be unjustly imprisoned in China. He is well known to the academic and journalism communities in Japan and the U.S. He is the epitome of the kind of people-to-people exchanges that China has been working so hard to establish and maintain for the past 30 years. That era is now over. In its place is China’s new anti-espionage act where any scholar or journalist (even the dean of the Beijing press corps) who is in contact with universities or similar communities overseas is in danger of being jailed for espionage.

The trial for this case took place in secret in late July.  Mr. Dong’s family and friends were not allowed to attend. No press was allowed to attend the trial. There is no published record for the public to read. This is how journalists are sent to prison in China. Mr. Dong was arrested in February 2022. He was held for 18 months without charges or a trial. Now that is being extended another three months. This Sunday is China’s National Day. And in November, President Xi is expected to attend the APEC conference in California. China does not want stories about Mr. Dong’s unjust detention in the news during those days.

Why doesn’t China turn this into a positive by letting Mr. Dong go? He has already served 18 months, during which time he has not been allowed to see or talk to his family. On behalf of all National Press Club members and journalists everywhere, we call on China to end this delayed verdict and send Mr. Dong home. “

Founded in 1908, the National Press Club is the world’s leading professional organization for journalists. With 3,000 members representing nearly every major journalism organization, the Club is a leading voice for press freedom worldwide.

The National Press Club Journalism Institute promotes an engaged, global, citizenry,  through an independent and free press. The Institute is the non-profit arm of the National Press Club.

Contact: Bill McCarren, 202-662-7534 for the National Press Club

SOURCE National Press Club