RSF: Imprisoned Journalist Yu Dongyue Evidently Tortured

February 27, 2006

Reporters Without Borders reports that Lu Decheng, a fellow 1989 Tiananmen Square protestor, visited Yu Dongyue in prison and said that he was "barely recognizable." Lu described Yu Dongyue as disoriented, with a visible head injury. Another prisoner told Lu that prison officials tied Yu to an electricity pole and left him outside in the hot sun for several days. The fellow inmate also said authorities kept Yu in solitary confinement for two years, and offered the opinion that "that was what broke him."

According to PEN Canada, Yu Dongyue, then a deputy editor of the Liuyang Daily, traveled from Changsha, Hunan, to Beijing on May 19, 1989. He was a representative of the Hunan Delegation in Support of the Beijing Students, which traveled to join the Tiananmen democracy protests. On May 23, Yu and two others threw paint at the famous portrait of Mao Zedong that faces Tiananmen Square from the Forbidden City. Police immediately arrested the three. Yu Dongyue was convicted of "counter-revolutionary propaganda, sabotage, and incitement" in August 1989 and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment. In 1997, authorities transferred Yu to Yuanjiang Prison in Hunan. PEN Canada has expressed concern that Yu has suffered psychological trauma as a result of harsh treatment in prison. In January 2001, Yu's sentence was reduced by two years.