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IFJ Press Freedom in China

August 11, 2010

Scoop News (New Zealand)
August 9, 2010,

Press Release
International Federation of Journalists
IFJ Press Freedom in China Campaign Bulletin
August 8, 2010

To IFJ Asia-Pacific affiliates and friends,

Welcome to IFJ Asia-Pacific’s monthly Press
Freedom in China Campaign e-bulletin. The next
bulletin will be sent on September 8, 2010, and contributions are most welcome.

To contribute news or information, email
ifjchina@ifj-asia.org. To visit the IFJ’s China
Campaign page, go to www.ifj.org.
Related Stories on Scoop

* IFJ Wary of Move to Control Press in Tonga 20/07/2010
* IFJ Denounces Punishment Of Journalist In China 06/07/2010
* IFJ Press Freedom in China Campaign Bulletin 10/06/2010
* IFJ Denounces Suspension of Editor in China 21/04/2010
* IFJ Demands Release Of Liu Xiaobo In China 12/02/2010

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Please distribute this bulletin widely among colleagues in the media.

In this bulletin:

List here:

1. Assaults on Journalists Prompt Encouraging Response From Authorities
2. IFJ Condemns Jailing of Uyghur Media Workers, Writer
3. Death Threat on Journalist Reporting on Floods
4. Report Details Hong Kong Media Rights Infringements
5. Journalist Beaten While Reporting Building Collapse
6. Interview Request Answered with Assault
7. Hong Kong and Foreign Journalists Detained for Reporting Rally
8. Ban on Report of Killings at Kindergarten
9. Negative Newspaper Reports from Outside Home Province Banned
10. Reporting on CEO Allegations and Rules for Party Leaders Restricted
11. Internet Monitoring Raises Concerns


1. Assaults on Journalists Prompt Encouraging Response From Authorities

The General Administrative of Press and
Publication of China (GAPP) issued a rare
statement on July 30 noting the rights of media
workers following three recent incidents. A
Shenzhen-based journalist, Chen Xiaoying, of the
China Times, was punched in the head by an
unidentified man on July 29 when she arrived for
an appointment with an anonymous source. Chen
believes the assault was connected to her report
on a listed company, Shenzhen International
Enterprise Co., published on July 18, which
alleged that its managing director may have been
involved in inappropriate activities. In Shanghai
on July 30, four people broke into the office of
National Business Daily and harassed staff after
the newspaper reported allegations that products
of shampoo manufacturer Bawang Group might
contain excessive levels of chemicals. A separate
incident in Lishui City Suichang County also
contributed to the GAPP response. The Economic
Observer’s Qiu Ziming discovered his name on an
online “wanted persons” list of the local
security bureau on July 23, after he published
three articles on Zhejiang Kan Specialties
Material Corporation’s suspected involvement in
stock exchange breaches. The security bureau
deleted Qiu’s name and apologised on July 30 but
gave no firm commitment to investigate Qiu’s
allegations of harassment and attempted bribery
from those who sought to cover up his reports.
The IFJ is encouraged by the GAPP statement and
urges media organisations to report all cases of assault and intimidation.


2. IFJ Condemns Jailing of Uyghur Media Workers, Writer

The IFJ condemned the sentencing of four Uyghur
media workers and a writer for three to 15 years’
jail. Writer Gheyret Niyaz, 51, a former
journalist and a frequent writer at
Uighurbiz.net, was convicted of divulging state
secrets and sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment
on July 23. Radio Free Asia reported that Gheyret
was convicted for accepting an interview with a
Hong Kong magazine, Asia Week, where he revealed
he had twice warned the Government of Xinjiang
Uyghur Autonomous Region ahead of the outburst of
ethnic unrest in July 2009. On July 30, more than
20 of China’s scholars requested the local
government release Gheyret unconditionally.
Dilshat Perhat,Nureli, Nijat Azat and one unnamed
person, employees of Uyghur language website
Diyarim.com, were convicted of endangering state
security and sentenced to between three and 10
years’ jail each. The IFJ urged the Xinjiang
Government to swiftly and unconditionally release the four prisoners.

3. Death Threat on Journalist Reporting on Floods

A journalist with the China Economic Times, Liu
Jianfeng, received a life-threatening note on
July 9, a day after he reported on his blog that
people had drowned during floods in Jiangxi. His
original report, published in the print and
online editions of the paper, had been edited by
senior management, who reclassified three deaths
caused by the floods as “disappearances”.
According to a Radio Free Asia report, Liu found
a note at his home which said, “Watch out when
you go out!” Liu believes the note was sent by
agents of the Jiangxi Government, who had also
allegedly offered him a bribe of 3000 yuan (about
USD 443) on June 29. The IFJ urged China’s
Central Government and Security Bureau to
promptly investigate the threats and bribery
allegations, and called on the All-China
Journalists’ Association to discourage self-censorship.

4. Report Details Hong Kong Media Rights Infringements

The IFJ was concerned by information in a new
report that documents increasing media rights
infringements in Hong Kong in the past 12 months.
The annual report of the Hong Kong Journalists’
Association (HKJA), an IFJ affiliate, reports
several threats to media freedom, including
increased restrictions on journalists and
incidents of harassment and assault. Many of the
media rights violations reported by the HKJA are
in stark contrast to the Basic Law of Hong Kong
Special Administrative Region, which grants its
people freedom of the press, freedom of
expression and freedom of publication. The IFJ
urged Hong Kong’s Government to uphold the Basic
Law, which is a responsibility that comes with
being a signatory of the International Covenant
of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The IFJ’s
2009 press freedom report, China Clings to
Control, noted a number of cases where Hong Kong
journalists were assaulted or detained while
working in China. Find the IFJ’s report here.

5. Journalist Beaten While Reporting Building Collapse

Lin Feng, a journalist of Southeast Express,
controlled by the Fujian branch of China’s
Council for the Promotion of International Trade,
which is in turn under the direction of the
Fujian Provincial Government, was assaulted by a
group of unidentified people on July 8 when he
was reporting on the collapse of a building in a
village of Cangshan District, Fuzhou, Fujian
province. During the scuffle, his camera was
snatched and all images were deleted. Lin said
some local villagers alleged that the group was
instructed by a village representative who was
related to local officials involved in breaching
the building’s construction regulations.
Journalists from other media outlets were
forbidden to get closer to the vicinity.

6. Interview Request Answered with Assault

Chen Wenguang, of Zhejiang TV, suffered stomach
injuries and his camera was damaged in an assault
by an official of Lu Bu village, in Liandu
District, on July 16, following his request to
interview village vice-officer Zeng Guofeng
regarding construction of a resort without
official approval. No promise has been made by
authorities to investigate the case.

7. Hong Kong and Foreign Journalists Detained for Reporting Rally

The IFJ was concerned by an attempt by police to
block Hong Kong and foreign media access and
reporting of an August 1 rally in Guangdong to
protect the city’s colloquial language.
Journalists in China were banned from covering
the event, and were instructed by authorities to
use government news agency reports instead.
Journalist Lam Kin-seng, of Hong Kong-based Cable
TV, reported that police surrounded the group of
Hong Kong and foreign media workers before taking
them to a temporary office where they were
detained for almost six hours, interrogated and
accused of being involved in “attempting to
disrupt social order”. The IFJ urged the General
Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) of
China and the All China Journalists’ Association
to work to ensure officials at all levels
understand the rights of the media that are enshrined in China’s Constitution.

8. Ban on Report of Killings at Kindergarten

A non-publication order was made by the Shandong
propaganda department about the killing of three
toddlers at a kindergarten in Boshan District,
Zibo City, Shandong Province, on August 3. An IFJ
source said a number of toddlers and teachers
were also injured before the attacker absconded.
The source said the local government’s
prohibition on media reports may be because many
local government officials’ children attend the kindergarten.

9. Negative Newspaper Reports from Outside Home Province Banned

In July, the Central Propaganda Department
tightened regulations to prevent provincial city
newspapers from publishing negative articles
written by newspapers located in other provinces.
City newspapers must now source state-owned media
when reporting on spontaneous news, unless an
event is viewed specifically by a staff reporter
on the scene. “The aim of the order is to
strengthen the local government’s ability to
control the dissemination of negative reports
about their own cities,” a journalist who is
working in a city newspaper said. “We’d heard
that some of the local governments had complained
to the Central Propaganda Government of negative
stories being published about their province. The
order affects the watch-dog power of media.” The
IFJ urged China’s authorities to revoke the order
as it is a clear violation of the principles of
press freedom which are enshrined in article 35 of China’s Constitution.

10. Reporting on CEO Allegations and Rules for Party Leaders Restricted

The Central Propaganda Department issued an order
on July 12 that all media not report an
allegation that a former CEO of Microsoft
(China), Tang Jun, was involved in a fake
doctoral degree incident. Tang’s case became a
hot topic online in China, which prompted some of
the media to investigate whether any celebrities
in China were involved in the unethical obtaining
of academic results. On July 5 the department
ordered controls on reporting about a new
regulation requiring Party leaders to register
personal data about themselves and their family
members. The order directs all media to use
government-run Xinhua News Agency reports about the regulation.

11. Internet Monitoring Raises Concerns

The IFJ was worried that a number of moves by
China’s authorities to justify increased
monitoring of online activity will adversely
impact journalists. The Government of Tibet
demanded all internet cafes install a distance
monitoring online system by the end of August
after instruction from the Ministry of Culture of
China. The system records all websites that
internet users access, as well as messages in
chat rooms or Skype, which are often used by
journalists. A Tibetan news website reported on
July 30 that the ministry said it was trying to
protect minors. However some scholars queried
this as all internet users are already required
to use their personal identity registration
number to play online games, which prevents
minors from using the cafes for this purpose.
Meanwhile, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
reported on July 1 that some social networking
websites are being used by western intelligence
agencies to collect political information.
According to the China Daily, the research report
“China New Media Development 2010” said that
social networking websites had fast become a
platform for people who attempt to upset the
social order. Since early July many bloggers have
complained that their blogs at sina and sohu were suddenly blocked.
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