Chinese authorities have issued a formal arrest notice for citizen journalist Lu Yuyu after detaining him for five weeks, Chinese news outlet Weiquanwang reported on Thursday.
Lu is founder of the blog “Not News”, which keeps track of and reports on mass demonstrations in China via Twitter, Blogspot, YouTube and Weibo. Lu and his girlfriend, Li Tingyu, have been reporting and distributing news of mass demonstrations in China since 2012.
Lu’s lawyer, Xiao Yunyang, reportedly received a phone call from the Dali Procuratorate which informed him that an official arrest notice had been issued for Lu. The status of Lu’s girlfriend remains unknown.
The couple were detained at Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture on June 16 on suspicion of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” according to the NGO China Human Rights Defenders.
In 2015, the couple gathered information related to as many as 30,000 incidents of mass demonstrations, which include village disputes over land ownership, worker strikes and corporate lawsuits.
Last month, an exiled dissident told US-backed Radio Free Asia that Lu’s detention could be linked to recent events in Wukan, where continuous days of protests ensued after the village’s “democratically-elected” leader was detained on charges of corruption. Chinese authorities have reportedly censored media reports on the demonstrations.
Lu and Li jointly manage the blog “wickedonna.blogspot.com” and the Twitter account “@wickedonnaa.” The last update from the Twitter account was on June 15.
The two citizen journalists were harassed by police multiple times prior to their detention, causing them to move homes on some occasions, according to Amnesty International.