Washington, DC – On a hot and humid day on July 25th, a group from the National Press Club protested outside of the Chinese Embassy for the release of Yuyu Dong. William McCarren, former National Press Club Executive Director, and his colleagues held up the signs “Free Yuyu Dong,” calling the Chinese authorities for his release.
Dong, a journalist at the leading Chinese newspaper China Guangming Daily, was accused of espionage after being detained by authorities during a lunch meeting with a Japanese Diplomat. Although it is not a crime under Chinese law, Dong’s meeting with a foreign diplomat as well as his trips to the US and Japan were cited as reasons for his indictment. He has been held in custody for 18 months without a verdict. “The trial ended yesterday with no verdict which is a surprise. The court says the verdict will be September 27,” said McCarren. “That will mean Yuyu will be held 1 year and 7 months without a verdict.”
In an open letter the National Press Club wrote,
“According to family members familiar with Mr. Dong’s case, the evidence supporting the charges are his regular contact with diplomats as well as his fellowships and exchanges in the U.S. and Japan. No evidence has been presented to his legal team that Mr. Dong accepted bribes….Like many journalists around the world, Mr. Dong regularly met foreign diplomats, journalists, and academics. Some of us were among those he met in China. Our meetings were always transparent. We made our plans openly, often via WeChat, and we met at public restaurants because we wanted our contacts to be above-the-board.”
The protesters were met with Diplomatic Secret Service, who showed up in vehicles and vans. Police did not ask the Club Delegation to move or explain their presence. They were allowed to protest in a peaceful manner.
Se Hoon Kim
Se Hoon Kim is the Assignment Editor and Senior Correspondent, East and South Asia at Global Strat View. He is also a columnist for the Sunday Guardian.