A Chinese court has upheld the original four-year sentence for the founder of a blog tracking protests in China.

Lu founded a blog in 2013 called “Not News,” which tracked mass demonstrations across the country. He worked with his girlfriend Li Tingyu to collect information about incidents including grassroots demonstrations arising from land issues and labour strikes.

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Lu Yuyu. Photo: Weiquanwang.

The Dali Intermediate People’s Court ruled that Lu Yuyu’s four-year jail term for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” would be upheld in a written decision received by his lawyer this week.

His lawyers told US-backed Radio Free Asia that they did not know yet whether Lu wanted to appeal again, and will find out when they meet Lu.

“We originally thought that he was not guilty, we made a not guilty defence – whether they change the sentence or uphold the original verdict, we still think it’s wrong. If Lu Yuyu is willing, we are willing to represent him in another appeal,” lawyer Xiao Yunyang said.

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The first and last pages of the court decision to uphold Lu’s original verdict. Photo: CPPC1989.

His appeal was heard by the court on September 13. According to his lawyer Wang Zongyue, Lu made a statement maintaining his innocence before the court, and challenged it to sentence him to 30,000 years if it was to follow the logic of the original verdict.

“He said that before [in the original sentence] they gave him four years for publishing eight messages – he said that he actually sent out about 70,000 messages; if they were to sentence him it should be for about 30,000 years – he said the sentence was too short,” Wang told US-backed Radio Free Asia.

In November 2016, Lu Yuyu and Li Tingyu were awarded the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) – TV5 Monde Press Freedom Prize in the category for citizen journalists.

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.