A journalist who ran a blog tracking protests in China has been beaten by prison guards, his lawyer said.

Guards at the Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture Detention Centre in northwestern Yunnan province twisted Lu Yuyu’s arms and choked him, causing him to hit his head on the wall according to a statement from Lu’s lawyer Wang Zhongyue released on Thursday. Lu’s head became swollen in several places and bled from one place. After his request to see a doctor was denied, Lu told Wang that he had begun hunger striking.

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Lu Yuyu – missing for 8 days, as of June 23. Photo: Twitter.

Lu Yuyu and his girlfriend Li Tingyu collected information about protests in China from social media and published it on the “Not News” blog and on Twitter account @wickedonnaa after verifying the information.

The conflict arose on August 29 after Lu wanted to sleep with something to cover his eyes, according to Wang’s statement. Guards objected, but Lu resisted. The next day, two guards went to his cell and told him to stand up. They said he didn’t know how to stand and that they would teach him. They then assaulted him, according to Wang.

Prison authorities told Wang that Lu had clashed with the vice-director of the prison and was on a hunger strike. But an officer at the detention centre denied to the Committee to Protect Journalists NGO by phone that prison guards at the centre assaulted Lu.

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Li Ting-yu and Lu Yuyu. Photo: VOA.

On the same day, Huang Simin, Li Tingyu’s lawyer, met with Li at the prison. Li told her that around 10pm on August 29 and 30, at 7:40pm, she heard Lu arguing with other people. On the second occasion, she heard him yell several times that the guards were beating him.

See also: Founder of protest reporting outlet goes missing in China

Lu and Li have been detained since June 16 on suspicion of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble.” The charge is often used to silence critics of the Chinese government.

catherine lai

Catherine Lai

Catherine is a Canadian journalist and photographer who lived in Beijing for almost two years, working in TV and online media. Aside from Hong Kong and mainland affairs, she is also interested in urban spaces, art and feminism. She holds a BA in Literature and Art History from the University of British Columbia.