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Archive for the ‘Journalist’ Category

China Activist Hu Jia’s Lawyer Put Under House Arrest, Foreign Journalists Prevented From Visiting Wife and Daughter

Posted by chinaview on January 13, 2008


Reporters Without Borders, 11 January 2008-

Reporters Without Borders today accused the Chinese authorities, especially state security, of violating the new regulations for foreign journalists by preventing them from visiting the wife of detained human rights activist Hu Jia and of violating the right of Hu’s lawyers to visit their client. One of the lawyers was placed under house arrest for a few hours.

“Despite all the appeals from within China and throughout the world for Hu’s release, the government is taking an even tougher position by depriving his wife and their two-month-old daughter of their freedom,” the press freedom organisation said.

On January 10th, one of Hu’s lawyers, Li Jinsong, was placed under house arrest for a few hours in a Beijing hotel, after inviting foreign journalists to confirm that it was impossible for him to see Hu’s wife, Zeng Jinyan. He is under surveillance by the police. His other lawyer, Li Fangping, was not detained but he was strongly urged not to try to approach Zeng’s home.

Previously, the authorities prevented them from visiting Hu in prison on 4 January on the grounds that the case had been classified as a “state secret.”

The police today prevented a group of foreign journalists from entering the Beijing apartment building where Zeng, a well-known blogger, lives with the couple’s two-month-old daughter Qianci, saying it was because a “criminal investigation” was under way. After checking their passports, the police allowed the reporters to leave but made the photographers delete the photos they had taken.

On 8 January, Zeng was able to talk to some German journalists through one of the windows of her apartment. She talked about the conditions in which her husband is being held and how the police are preventing all his friends and relatives from seeing her. “The police have searched the apartment several times and have taken our computer and telephones,” she said, adding: “I am very worried about Hu Jia.”

After that conversation, the police installed a curtain to prevent Zeng from being seen from outside the apartment. More than 20 police officers are permanently stationed around her home. Zeng has been completely isolated since Hu’s arrest, when the phone lines and Internet connection were cut off.

A friend of Hu’s told Reporters Without Borders he had also been prevented from visiting Zeng at home and that police officers were subsequently stationed outside his own home. On 5 January, the police searched the home of Hu’s parents to ensure they did not have documents about his arrest that they could give to the news media.

Hu has been held since 27 December on a charge of “inciting subversion of the state.” Referring to his arrest on 3 January, a foreign ministry spokesman said: “Everyone is equal before the law and no one is above the law. We are handling this case according to the law.”

Li, the lawyer who was placed under house arrest today, was awarded the French government’s human rights prize last month. French justice minister Rachida Dati met him when she accompanied President Nicolas Sarkozy on a visit to China in November.

Fifty-seven Chinese activists and writers released an open letter on 6 January calling for Hu’s immediate release and urging the police to ensure that his health does not deteriorate while in detention. Hu has a liver ailment.

Original report from Reporters Without Borders

Posted in Activist, Beijing, Blogger, China, Dissident, Freedom of Speech, house arrest, Hu Jia, Human Rights, Journalist, Law, Lawyer, Life, News, People, Police, Politics, Social, World, Zeng Jinyan | Comments Off

China: Small-town Officials And Police Traveled 500 Miles to Beijing to Arrest Reporter for Corruption Exposure

Posted by chinaview on January 12, 2008


By Edward Cody, from Washington Post, via the San Jose Mercury News, U.S. 01/09/2008-

BEIJING – China’s media and Internet users erupted in criticism Tuesday against some small-town officials and police officers who traveled nearly 500 miles to Beijing seeking to arrest a magazine reporter who wrote critically about their local Communist Party leader.

Editorials in the Beijing press said the officials, from Xinfeng county in northeastern China’s Liaoning province, had abused their power. Even the party’s official propaganda organ, People’s Daily, ran a signed editorial suggesting the way to deal with libel accusations is to go to court rather than use heavy-handed “administrative power.”

The attempt to arrest the reporter was an uncomfortable reminder of the degree to which local Communist Party officials and their police, in the absence of an independent judicial system, routinely exercise power without legal restraints.

Rising expectations

But the outcry from editorialists and online commentators also showed that the Chinese public’s willingness to accept such untrammeled power may be diminishing. Public expectations in this regard have been heightened recently by repeated pledges from President Hu Jintao to make the party more honest and responsive to people’s needs.

“I have always wondered what makes these cadres, even though they are educated and trained by the party for so many years, fail to perform normally, ignoring their superiors and arrogantly challenging the central media,” wrote an Internet user who said he was a professor at the University of Political Science and Law in Beijing. “Where does their confidence and strength come from? It shows a lack of democracy and rule of law at the grass-roots level.”

The controversy began when a Xinfeng gasoline station owner, Zhao Junping, accused the county government of failing to pay her adequate compensation when it expropriated and tore down one of her stations in 2006 to make way for a new trading center. Reinforcing her complaint, she sent her friends a number of cell-phone messages satirizing the local party secretary, Zhang Zhiguo, for refusing to give in to her demands for more money.

Zhao also traveled to Beijing last year to petition the national government for redress. But Xinfeng county police followed her to the capital and took her back, eventually jailing her and putting her on trial in a local court for tax-dodging and libel. She has been behind bars for about nine months, her case still unresolved.

The dispute caught the attention of Zhu Wenna, editorial director of a monthly magazine in Beijing, and she wrote a story about it in the Jan. 1 issue. Three days later, the Xinfeng country propaganda director and law committee director showed up in her Beijing office with a document accusing her of inaccuracies about party secretary Zhang.

Zhu refused to entertain their complaint. But they returned in the afternoon, this time accompanied by three Xinfeng police officers and armed with an arrest warrant from the Xinfeng Public Security Bureau accusing her of libel, which in China can be a criminal as well as a civil offense.

Zhu, meanwhile, had disappeared, and her editor, Wang Fengbin, refused to reveal where she was. The police officers waited until 6 p.m. for her return, but to no avail. From her hiding spot, she told friends she had retained an attorney and was seeking help from the party-sponsored All-China Journalists Association.

Defects of society

Party leader Zhang, contacted by the Beijing newspaper Xinjing Bao, said he had not issued orders to the Xinfeng police to arrest Zhu and had no idea how they came to travel to Beijing. But his critics seemed not to buy that defense.

“This incident shows fully the defects of our society, in which power is not effectively checked and local so-called judiciaries are actually the tools of local officials,” said one of Monday’s 30,000-plus Internet commentators. “What’s the difference with the feudal emperors?”

Zhan Jiang, a journalism professor at China Youth University for Political Sciences, wrote in Xinjing Bao that the attempt to prosecute Zhu for criminal libel was “appalling and will incur serious criticism from the public.” At the same time, he noted libel can be a criminal offense under Chinese law, so the police were legally justified in coming to Beijing to make an arrest.

But a commentator in Shanghai disagreed: “Why, I feel like I am watching a gangster movie,” he wrote.

- Report from the San Jose Mercury News: China party officials stir media, online protests

Posted in Beijing, China, corruption, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Journalist, Law, Liaoning, Magazine, Media, NE China, News, Official, People, Politics, Press freedom, Social, Speech, World | 4 Comments »

Blacklisted and banned from China, Reporters Without Borders protest in Hong Kong

Posted by chinaview on December 16, 2007


Reporters Without Borders, Dec. 10, 2007-

A large flag showing the Olympic rings transformed into handcuffs was unfurled outside the Liaison Office of the central people’s government of China in Hong Kong today by five Reporters Without Borders representatives, including secretary-general Robert Ménard, in a protest to mark Human Rights Day. Two days before Chinese authorities refused to give visas to members of the press freedom organisation.

“We had initially planned to stage this demonstration in Beijing, but the authorities refused to give us visas,” Reporters Without Borders said. “We know that some of us are blacklisted by the Chinese immigration services . At a time when the government is compiling files on foreign journalists and human rights activists in advance of the Olympic Games, this refusal is evidence of its determination to keep critics at a distance.

“The Chinese authorities are clearly not prepared to let people remind them of the undertakings they gave to improve the situation of human rights and, in particular, press freedom when they were awarded the 2008 Olympics in 2001.

“We have to do something as we are just eight months away from the start of the Olympic Games. In view of the International Olympic Committee’s silence and the Chinese government’s refusal to keep its promise to improve respect for rights and freedoms, we have a duty to draw attention to the disastrous situation for free speech in China. The Chinese government must take firm action before the games, starting with the release of the hundred or so detained journalists and cyber-dissidents.”

Reporters Without Borders added : “We are not trying to spoil a major sports event, but who will be able to say these games have been a success when thousands of prisoners of conscience languish in Chinese jails overshadowed by these sports stadiums ? Who will be able to believe in the ‘One World, One Dream’ slogan of these games when Tibetan and Uyghur minorities are subject to serious discrimination ?”

(JPEG) The five Reporters Without Borders activists unfurled the 15-square-metre flag outside the Chinese government’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong at 2.30 p.m. local time. The image on the flag, the Olympic rings transformed into handcuffs, and the accompanying words, “Beijing 2008,” refer to the terrible situation of free expression in China.

In a previous protest, four Reporters Without Borders representatives, including its president, Fernando Castello, its vice-president, Rubina Möhring, and Ménard gave an unauthorised news conference outside the building of the Olympic Games Organising Committee, the BOCOG, in Beijing on 6 August. They were arrested later the same day at their hotel and escorted to the airport.

The world’s biggest prison for journalists

China is the world’s biggest prison for journalists (33 detained), cyber-dissidents (49 detained) and free speech activists. In all, about 100 of them are currently serving prison sentences in appalling conditions after being convicted on charges of “subversion” or “disseminating state secrets.”

Although the Chinese media, now subject to the law of the market, have been evolving rapidly, the Propaganda Department and the political police continue to monitor, censor and arrest recalcitrant journalists.

In January, the authorities eased the regulations governing the work of foreign journalists because of this year’s Olympics. Since then there have nonetheless been at least 60 cases of police detaining, manhandling or otherwise obstructing foreign correspondents in the course of their work. In one recent case, a Swiss TV reporter was hit and detained for seven hours by officials in a village near Beijing.

(JPEG) After Beijing had just been awarded the 2008 Games in Moscow in 2001, a representative of the Beijing Candidate Committee said : “By entrusting the organisation of the Olympic Games to Beijing , you will help the development of human rights.” Six year later, Reporters Without Borders has not seen any durable improvement in press freedom or online free expression.

Chinese journalists continue to push back the limits of censorship but the authorities monitor and punish the most critical ones. In November, the Propaganda Department banned the Chinese media from carrying “negative” stories on matters such as air pollution, a dispute over Taiwan’s inclusion in the Olympic torch relay, and public health issues.

The Internet is also controlled. Chinese Internet users are prevented from accessing thousands of news websites based abroad. Chinese cyber-police and cyber-censors scrutinise online content looking for criticism. Around 20 companies, some of them American, had to sign a “self-disciplinary pledge” in August undertaking to censor the blogs they host in China and to ask bloggers to reveal their real identity.

The IOC’s silent complicity

All over the world, concern is growing about what is happening with the 2008 games, which are being exploited by a government that refuses to take action to guarantee freedom of expression and respect the Olympic Charter’s humanistic values.

Reporters Without Borders has written several letters to IOC president Jacques Rogge asking him to intervene. He has never replied personally, but his close aides regularly point out the IOC is not a “political” organisation and cannot put pressure on a “sovereign state.”

The IOC is constantly trumpeting the progress being made with the work on the Beijing games infrastructure but it has not made any public statement of concern about the lack of freedom of expression, which will undermine the work of the media and the transparency that is needed for the games.

In a letter to Rogge on 29 November, Reporters Without Borders wrote : “It is your silence that has unfortunately made all these abuses possible. We continue to think that the IOC should do everything it can to influence the policies of the Beijing games organisers towards Chinese and foreign journalists. A failure to rise to this key challenge would represent an enormous setback in the history of the Olympic movement.”

- original report from Reporters without Borders

Posted in Asia, Beijing Olympics, censorship, China, Event, Freedom of Speech, Hong kong, Human Rights, Journalist, Law, Media, News, People, Politics, Press freedom, Social, Sports, World | 1 Comment »

RSF’s Open Letter to IOC President on Press Freedom Abuse in China

Posted by chinaview on December 1, 2007


press release, Reporters without borders, 29 November 2007-

Open letter to Jacques Rogge, President of International Olympic Committee

Mr. Jacques Rogge President International Olympic Committee Lausanne, Switzerland

Paris, 29 November 2007

Dear Mr. Rogge,

We are receiving extremely disturbing reports from China about the way the authorities are preparing for the arrival of tens of thousands for journalists and media workers for the Beijing Olympic Games.

It is becoming clearer and clearer that the organisers of the Beijing Olympics and the Chinese security apparatus have decided to control journalists very closely before and during the games. The authorities said, for example, that they were planning to compile files on journalists and reserved the right to turn them back even if they were accredited by National Olympic Committees.

You must be aware that the games organisers announced that they were going to conduct ID checks on all accredited journalists. Yang Minghui, the deputy head of the games accreditation office, defended this decision as a security requirement, as if journalists could pose a threat or be potential terrorists. “If they do not pass the tests, their accreditation requests will be refused and the process will stop there,” he said, adding that “the aim is to eliminate people who pose problems for the security of the games.”

Other Olympic cities compiled files on journalists in the past, but this was for organisational purposes and never with the intention of refusing entry on grounds which – as everyone must realize in the case of Beijing – are political.

The announcement followed an earlier one by the General Administration of Press and Publications (GAPP) that it was going to compile files on the approximately 30,000 journalists coming to the games. A GAPP representative said the purpose was to identify “fake journalists” and to help Chinese officials respond to interview requests. But the government has not said what kind of information will be gathered.

In recent months, there have been several leaks in the media about the instructions given to the public security and state security departments as regards identifying groups in China and abroad that are likely to want to demonstrate during the games. Journalists could also be targeted by this preventive surveillance and it is possible that hundreds of people will be banned from entering China.

Reporters Without Borders hailed the adoption of new rules for the foreign press last January. But, 11 months later, the results are negative. It is true that the foreign ministry has in some cases tried to help foreign journalists who had been detained or attacked, but we have registered more than 50 cases clearly showing that the authorities are not respecting the new rules.

Barbara Lüthi, the Beijing correspondent of the Swiss TV channel Schweizer Fernsehen, and her Chinese camerawoman were, for example, recently hit and detained for seven hours by the authorities in Shengyou, a village in Hebei province where unrest led to the deaths of several residents in 2005. At least five foreign journalists have been prevented from working in this village, located near Beijing, in recent months.

Mathias Brascheler and Monika Fisher, a Swiss husband-and-wife team of photographers, were recently detained for three hours in Wuchang, in Hubei province, while preparing a report on villagers who had been threatened and beaten in connection with a land dispute.

Even more serious is the fact that Chinese journalists and dissidents continue to fall victim to repression. For example, cyber-dissident Yang Maodong, who is better known by the pseudonym of Guo Feixiong, was sentenced to five years in prison and a heavy fine in mid-November for publishing a book without permission. Cyber-dissident and blogger He Weihua was confined against his will to a psychiatric hospital in Hunan in August. Relatives told Reporters Without Borders he has no mental illness whatsoever and that the real reason for this measure was the articles he had posted on his blog, http://www.boxun.com/hero/hewh/. In all, about 100 journalists, cyber-dissidents and human rights activists are currently detained in China.

Human rights organisations are noting an increase in political repression. According to the Dui Hua Foundation, the number of trials on a charge of “jeopardising state security” has doubled from last year to this. Quoting officials sources, the foundations says no fewer than 600 people have arrested on this charge.

As you know, those targeted also include people who provide the outside world with information about political repression. Three Tibetans have just been sentenced by a court in Kardze, in Sichuan province (adjoining Tibet), to prison sentences ranging from three to ten years for “espionage for foreign organisations endangering state security.” Their crime was to have sent abroad photos of demonstrations by Tibetan nomads in early August.

We also deplore the often disturbing level of propaganda and nationalist fervour surrounding the preparations for the Olympic Games. On 19 November, for example, the government newspaper Huanqiu Shibao (Global Times) attacked foreign news media that “spread rumours to destabilise the government,” citing the Washington Post, the International Herald Tribune, Die Welt, Associated Press and Voice of America. Mentioning Reporters Without Borders, it also criticised NGOs that keep relaying “prejudices” about China.

Similarly, in the past month the Propaganda Department sent a written directive to the leading Chinese news media asking them to avoid publishing “negative” stories on matters affecting the games such as air pollution, a dispute over Taiwan’s inclusion in the Olympic torch relay, and public health issues.

It was expected that the foreign news media would be allowed greater access to the Chinese market before the Olympic Games. Instead, the government has maintained its monopoly of the sale of news to Chinese media, depriving foreign news agencies of potential clients. In response to questions by the European Union, Canada, Japan and the United States before the Word Trade Organisation, China said on 12 November that it had not signed any provision requiring it to open up the business news market. When the state news agency Xinhua’s control over the distribution of foreign news agency content was reinforced in September 2006, we described Xinhua as a predator of free enterprise and the freedom to report the news.

This is not the first time that we have written to you, Mr. Rogge, to ask you to speak out and take action on behalf of press freedom in China. You have never replied directly, letting other IOC members argue that your organisation does not concern itself with political matters. We have met IOC officials in Lausanne, but no concrete measures for the press ensued.

The organisation you head is constantly trumpeting the progress being made with the work on the Beijing games infrastructure but it has not made any public statement of concern about the lack of freedom of expression, which will undermine the work of the media and the transparency that is needed for the games.

Mr. Rogge, it is your silence that has unfortunately made all these abuses possible. We continue to think that the IOC should do everything it can to influence the policies of the Beijing games organisers towards Chinese and foreign journalists. A failure to rise to this key challenge would represent an enormous setback in the history of the Olympic movement.

I look forward to your reply.

Sincerely,

Robert Ménard Secretary-General

- Original report from Reporters Without Borders

Posted in Beijing Olympics, China, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Journalist, Law, Media, News, People, Politics, Press freedom, Social, Sports, World | Comments Off

French President urged to speak out on human rights during China visit

Posted by chinaview on November 24, 2007


Reporters Without Borders, 22 November 2007-

Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard has written to French President Nicolas Sarkozy urging him to intercede on behalf of China’s 83 imprisoned journalists and cyber-dissidents during a three-day visit to the country that begins on 25 November.

“You have said several times in recent months that you intend to raise the human rights situation and the fate of China’s political prisoners when you meet with Chinese officials,” the letter said. “This visit is an excellent opportunity to make France’s voice heard and to remind President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao of the undertakings China has given.”

The Chinese authorities promised to improve the press freedom and human rights situation when the 2008 Olympic Games were assigned to Beijing in 2001.

Reporters Without Borders has sent Sarkozy’s advisers a list of the 33 journalists and 50 cyber-dissidents and Internet users currently held in China, making special mention of Shi Tao, who is serving a 10-year sentence, Ching Cheong, serving a five-year sentence, and Yang Zili, serving a eight-year sentence.

Reporters Without Borders would like Sarkozy to organise a meeting with independent journalists, pro-democracy intellectuals and the relatives of political prisoners during his stay in Beijing.

“We also think that a member of your delegation should visit the home of the husband-and-wife human rights team, Hu Jia and Zeng Jinyan, recently nominated for the European parliament’s Sakharov prize,” Ménard wrote. “Under house arrest for the past few years, they embody a courageous and determined defence of free expression.”

Finally, Reporters Without Borders also urged Sarkozy to pay attention to the position of the French companies whose merits he will be promoting during his trip. The press freedom organisation is of the view that their technologies should not be used for repression.

The French company Thalès, for example, sold China its powerful ALLISS antennae, which are used by the Chinese authorities to jam the signals of some international radio stations. And the European aerospace company EADS has sold communications systems to the Beijing municipal government for the security systems. More than 30,000 police officers and municipal security personnel are to be supplied with European equipment.

Reporters Without Borders has already voiced its concern that it could be used against dissidents.

Original report from Reporters Without Borders

Posted in China, Europe, Event, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Journalist, News, People, Politics, Speech, World | Comments Off

Tibetans Given Harsh Prison Sentences For Sending Photos Abroad in SW China

Posted by chinaview on November 23, 2007


Reporters Without Borders, 21 November 2007-

Reporters Without Borders voiced outrage at harsh prison sentences for “espionage” of three to ten years handed down yesterday to three Tibetans by the intermediate court in Kardze, Sichuan province on the Tibetan border.

The three, who had sent abroad photos of demonstrations held at the beginning of August by nomadic Tibetans, were charged with “espionage on behalf of foreign organisations, putting state security in danger”.

Adak Lupoe, a senior monk at Lithang monastry and Kunkhyen, a musician and teacher, were sentenced to ten and nine years respectively for taking photos and recordings of the demonstrations following the horse festival on 1st August.

Under the Chinese justice system the fact of sending pictures to “foreign organisations” constitutes a “threat to national security”. Jarib Lothog was sentenced to three years in prison for helping send the photos.

Some shots of the demonstrations were used by media run by the Tibetan community in exile and by human rights organisations. Tibetans in the region have reported that since the ‘incident’, described by the state-run Xinhua news agency as a “laying siege to government buildings”, tension has increased in the Lithan area and Chinese military reinforcements have been sent to the region.

“These very harsh sentences demonstrate the risks run by ordinary Tibetan citizens when they try to send information aboard, a step which is similar to citizen journalism,” the worldwide press freedom organisation said.

Runggye Adak was given an eight-year jail sentence on the same day before the same court for being the “instigator of the 1st August rally”. He was found guilty of “separatist activism” after giving a speech supporting the Dalai Lama’s return to Tibet.

“It is striking that an organiser of the demonstrations was given a lesser sentence than those who took the photographs,” Reporters Without Borders said. “This shows the regime’s paranoia towards those who produce evidence of disputes within China, Tibet and Xinjiang. We call for the verdict to be quashed and the Tibetans released,” said the organisation.Armed soldiers in riot gear march towards the informal Tibetan encampment south of the town.

Photos of the events in question are available on the website of the International Campaign for Tibet: http://www.savetibet.org/news/newsitem.php?id=1160

- Original report from Reporters Without Borders

Posted in China, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Journalist, Law, Media, News, People, Politics, Religion, Religious, Sichuan, Social, SW China, Tibet, Tibetan, World | 1 Comment »

China journalist wins Golden Pen of Freedom for the second consecutive year

Posted by chinaview on November 21, 2007


INQUIRER.net, Philippines, 11/20/2007-

MANILA, Philippines — Li Changqing, a Chinese journalist who was imprisoned for alerting the public to an outbreak of dengue fever before the authorities, has been awarded the 2008 Golden Pen of Freedom, the annual press freedom prize of the World Association of Newspapers, the group announced in an e-mail.

It is the second consecutive year a Chinese journalist has received the award, an unprecedented decision that reflects the repressive conditions for media in China. The 2007 laureate was Shi Tao, the Chinese journalist who was imprisoned after the American search engine company Yahoo provided information to the Chinese authorities that led to his arrest.

“The persecution of Mr. Li for reporting on a serious health threat reveals the nonsense and bankruptcy of the Chinese regime’s controlled press policies,” the Board of the Paris-based WAN, meeting in Vienna, said.

“The Chinese authorities have a long history of covering up events they prefer to keep secret, and Mr. Li’s courageous decision to report on this outbreak, knowing the possible consequences, is an inspiration to journalists everywhere,” the Board said.

The award will be presented at the World Newspaper Congress and World Editors Forum, the global summit meetings of the world’s press, to be held in Göteborg, Sweden, from 1 to 4 June next.

The award was announced a day after WAN launched a campaign to win the release of all jailed Chinese journalists, and to hold the Chinese authorities to the promises of reforms they made when they were awarded next summer’s Olympics. More information can be found at http://www.wan-press.org/article15588.html.

Li, a reporter and deputy news director of the Fuzhou Daily in Fuzhou City, Fujian Province, was sentenced to three years in prison in January 2006, for “fabricating and spreading false information” after being detained without charges for nearly a year. The charges stem from an anonymous report posted on Boxun News Network, a Chinese-language website based in the United States.

Due to censorship and restrictions imposed by the Communist Party Propaganda Department on sensitive social issues, no reports of the outbreak in Fuzhou of dengue, a viral, mosquito-borne disease, had been reported in the Chinese press. Nor had health officials officially announced the outbreak.

Chinese authorities had previously been criticized for suppressing reports, with disastrous consequences, of an outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, that occurred in Guandong Province in 2002.

Li reported on government corruption and other sensitive social issues before being imprisoned, according to WAN. He was detained in 2005 on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power,” allegedly for writing in support of whistleblower Huang Jingao, a Communist Party official who publicly denounced corruption among local officials and was imprisoned on corruption charges as a result.

Though Li was never charged in that case, he was held for more than 11 months, until he was tried and convicted for reporting on the dengue fever outbreak.

China is one of the world’s largest jailers of journalists, with about 40 behind bars. Other journalists have been harassed, detained, threatened or dismissed from their jobs because of their reporting.

The WAN Board called for the immediate release of Li and other imprisoned Chinese journalists.

WAN, the global association of the newspaper industry, has awarded the Golden Pen annually since 1961. Past winners include Argentina’s Jacobo Timerman (1980), South Africa’s Anthony Heard (1986), China’s Dai Qing (1992), Vietnam’s Doan Viet Hoat (1998), Zimbabwe’s Geoffrey Nyarota (2002), and Iran’s Akbar Ganji (2006).

The Paris-based WAN, the global organization for the newspaper industry, represents 18,000 newspapers; its membership includes 77 national newspaper associations, newspaper companies and individual newspaper executives in 102 countries, 12 news agencies and 10 regional and worldwide press groups.

- Original report from INQUIRER.net

Posted in censorship, China, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Journalist, Law, News, People, Politics, Social, Speech, World | Comments Off

Without Independent Film Producer, CBC Doing The Editing to Documentary Under Pressure From China

Posted by chinaview on November 20, 2007


Peter Rowe made 5 minutes’ worth of changes, but CBC wanted more before tonight’s broadcast

Vinay Menon,  television columnist, Toronto Star, Canada, Nov 20, 2007-

Peter Rowe spent three long years making a documentary about China’s repression of the Falun Gong spiritual movement. But in some ways, the last two weeks have been more exhausting.

On Nov. 6, five hours before Beyond the Red Wall: The Persecution of Falun Gong was scheduled to air on CBC Newsworld, the Canadian filmmaker was informed it had been yanked.

There were whispers Chinese diplomats had voiced complaints. And the notion Beijing was interfering with Canada’s public broadcaster – a charge the CBC categorically denies – generated headlines across the planet.

Beyond the Red Wall is scheduled to air tonight at 10. Mind you, assuming it does, not even Rowe will have seen the final cut.

“I was called on Saturday and told that they were making more changes and did I want to be involved, and I said, `No, I didn’t,'” he told me yesterday. “I’m on to my other projects and enough is enough.”

The network’s tinkering – the film was still in CBC’s editing suite yesterday afternoon – comes after a six-hour marathon between Rowe and executives last Monday, during which a number of changes were requested.

Rowe complied, delivering a recut version on Friday. The changes affected about five minutes of the 41-minute film and included:

Adding technical evidence to charges from Falun Gong over a 2001 incident in Tiananmen Square in which five people allegedly died from self-immolation. Chinese authorities say the five were Falun Gong members; the group says the incident was a government-staged hoax.

Removing an interview clip in which a lawyer talks about human rights abuses and the Olympic Games, drawing an analogy between 1936 Berlin and 2008 Beijing.

Adding a “dramatization” label to footage provided by Falun Gong that allegedly shows how some of its members have been tortured in prison.

Editing the most inflammatory section of the film in which China is accused of harvesting organs from Falun Gong members for transplant.

Removing a reference to a website, allegedly based in Vancouver, in which kidney transplants were guaranteed provided the patient was willing to travel to China. (The website has since disappeared. And this year, China passed a law that makes illegal the sale of organs to foreigners.)

Changing the numerical points of evidence from 18 to 33 in a report about the alleged organ harvesting that was authored by Canadian lawyer David Matas and David Kilgour, former secretary of state for Asia-Pacific. And including a title card that says Amnesty International has not corroborated the report.

The irony is that Beyond the Red Wall is airing as part of The Lens, a series that’s promoted as “innovative, compelling documentaries made exclusively by independent Canadian filmmakers.” (Emphasis mine.)

This is not a news segment on The National. It’s a provocative film with a point of view.

“This is the same unit that only in late September broadcast Fahrenheit 9/11, a far more contentious film than this one is,” says Rowe. “They didn’t ask Michael Moore to make any changes.”

So how does he explain the skittishness?

“I think there is a great deal of nervousness about dealing with issues involving China at the CBC.”

The suggestion is denied by CBC spokesperson Jeff Keay. He tells me changes were made after a “detailed review of the material” and not at the “behest of any outside parties.”

“We’ve worked to ensure the finished product is both journalistically rigorous and as credible as possible,” says Keay. “Several changes were required to ensure that source material and interviews were appropriately identified and attributed.

“There were two points where we disagreed as to whether specific assertions could be independently verified. Both cases related to organ harvesting and this resulted in deletions.”

Curiously, though, Rowe delivered the finished film in March. He heard no objections until the day it was supposed to air.

In fact, the film aired Oct. 31 on the broadcaster’s French-language service, Radio Canada.

It has also aired in New Zealand, Spain and Portugal, in each case without incident.

“I hope that I can make more films with the CBC, but I also hope that they would be less fractious and problem-filled edits than this one has been,” says Rowe.

The film – at least the first and second cuts I screened – includes interviews with academics, politicians, lawyers, Chinese officials and Falun Gong members. Unless the CBC has gutted it over the past 72 hours, Rowe’s film remains a searing indictment of China’s treatment of the Falun Gong.

The downside to this month’s publicity, Rowe says, is that it has overshadowed the film itself. But the upside, I suggest, is that more people may now watch.

- Original report from Toronto Star : CBC still tinkering with Falun Gong documentary

Posted in Canada, China, Commentary, Falun Gong, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Journalist, Media, News, People, Politics, Speech, TV / film, World | 1 Comment »

Yahoo isn’t the only U.S. company helping China’s Internet cops

Posted by chinaview on November 20, 2007


By Peter Navarro, Special to the Los Angeles Times, Via The Seattle Times, U.S, Monday, November 19, 2007-

Which company has committed the greater evil? Yahoo Inc. helped send a reporter to prison by revealing his identity to the Chinese government. Cisco Systems Inc. helps send thousands of Chinese dissidents to prison by selling sophisticated Internet-surveillance technology to China.

If bad press is to be the judge, the “stool pigeon” Yahoo is clearly the bigger villain. In 2004, after the Chinese government ordered the country’s media not to report on the 15th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests, journalist Shi Tao used his Yahoo e-mail account to forward a government memo to a pro-democracy group. When China’s Internet police — a force of 30,000 — uncovered this, it pressured Yahoo to reveal Shi’s identity.

Yahoo caved quicker than you can say Vichy France, and Shi is doing 10 years in a Chinese slammer for one click of his subversive mouse.

For ratting out Shi, Yahoo Chief Executive Jerry Yang has been dragged before Congress, called a “moral pygmy ” and forced to issue an apology. In contrast, Cisco and Chief Executive John Chambers have received little public scrutiny for providing China’s cadres of Comrade Orwells with the Internet-surveillance technology they need to cleanse the Net of impure democratic thoughts.

Cisco is hardly alone in helping China keep the jackboot to the neck of its people. Skype, an eBay Inc. subsidiary, helps the Chinese government monitor and censor text messaging. Microsoft Corp. likewise is a willing conscript in China’s Internet-policing army, as Bill Gates’ minions regularly cleanse the Chinese blogosphere.

Google Inc.’s brainiacs, meanwhile, have built a special Chinese version of their powerful search engine to filter out things as diverse as the BBC, freeing Tibet and that four-letter word in China — democracy.

Business executives have justified their actions with a “when in China, do as the Chinese do” defense. To do business in China, these executives insist, they must comply with local laws. But China’s local laws often force executives to make moral and ethical choices that would be intolerable in the West.

The broader problem is that American business executives have little training in how to deal with ethics in a corrupt and totalitarian global-business environment — blame U.S. business schools for that. As a result, moral horizons tend to be short, and executives who find themselves in the heat of a battle don’t know where to draw the line, which is what happened to Yahoo.

Some executives also trot out the “constructive engagement” defense. This too-clever-by-half idea is that companies such as Yahoo, Microsoft, Skype and Cisco are actually pro-democracy elements because they are helping build China’s Internet. Even though these companies collaborate through self-censorship and assist with Internet surveillance, the greater effect is to build free speech — or so the argument goes.

What’s missing from the American corporate perspective is this bigger picture: The collaborative tools that U.S. corporations provide to spy on, and silence, the Chinese people are far more likely to help prop up a totalitarian regime than topple it.

With American corporate help, China remains the world’s biggest prison. As reported by the Laogai Research Foundation, millions of dissidents languish in Chinese-style gulags known as laogai, and thanks in part to U.S. corporations, their numbers are growing.

In addition, human-rights abuses are both systematic and endemic in China. From Catholics and Muslims to the Falun Gong, from pro-democracy voices and investigative journalists to the Free Tibet movement, the penalty for being caught for banned religious or political expression is arrest, beatings and sometimes death.

For all these reasons, it ultimately is shortsighted to single out Yahoo for the kind of behavior now common to many big U.S. companies operating in China. That’s why we need to have a much bigger discussion about how to engage economically and politically with China. It’s also why the proposed Global Online Freedom Act, which would make it unlawful for U.S. companies to filter Internet search results or turn over user information, should not be viewed as a magic bullet but rather as the start of that debate.

Peter Navarro is a business professor at the University of California, Irvine, and the author of “Coming China Wars.”

- Report from The Seattle Times

Posted in censorship, China, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Internet, Journalist, Law, Microsoft, News, Opinion, People, Politics, Report, Social, Technology, USA, World, Yahoo | 1 Comment »

WAN Launches “Beijing 2008″ Campaign Against Media Repression in China

Posted by chinaview on November 19, 2007


The World Association of Newspapers (WAN), Nov. 19, 2007-

The World Association of Newspapers has called on all participants in next summer’s Beijing Olympics — the International Olympic Committee, athletes, sponsors and other partners — to “exert serious pressure” on China to hold the government to its promises of reform.

In a resolution issued Monday by the Board of the Paris-based organisation, WAN also praised US lawmakers for their condemnation of Yahoo, which helped Chinese police persecute and arrest cyber-reporters. At least 30 journalists and 50 cyberdissidents are currently in Chinese prisons, and Chinese media remain under the draconian control of the authorities.

“The WAN Board believes the end of ’business as usual’ in China is necessary to effect belated and needed reform, and it encourages all partners in the Games, and all companies doing business with China, to speak out about China’s human rights abuses,” said the resolution, part of a global campaign by WAN to draw attention to Chinese press abuses and help free jailed journalists in the run-up to the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

“By all accounts, the Beijing Games are shaping up to be a showcase for China. But these events should not be allowed to take place without active opposition by participants — the IOC, athletes, sponsors, media partners and others — to the repressive conditions that surround the Games. Turning a blind eye to these violations of human rights would be a scandal,” said WAN.

The WAN campaign also includes an international conference dedicated to the press freedom situation in China, to be held in Paris on 21 and 22 March 2008. The event, organised by WAN, the World Press Freedom Committee, Reporters Without Borders and Human Rights in China, is entitled, “2008 Olympics: Winning Press Freedom in China”. For more details, contact Virginie Jouan, Co-Director of Press Freedom and Development at WAN, at vjouan@wan.asso.fr.

WAN will also dedicate its World Press Freedom Day activities on 3 May next year to press freedom in China. It annually prepares a package of materials that are published by thousands of newspapers world-wide.

The WAN resolution issued Monday called on the International Olympic Committee, athletes, sponsors, media partners and others “to exert serious pressure on the Chinese authorities to cease their flagrant and persistent abuses of human rights and, notably, to release from prison the dozens of journalists serving long jail sentences for freely exercising their profession.”

Among those jailed journalists is Shi Tao, the laureate of the WAN Golden Pen of Freedom, who is serving a 10-year prison sentence on charges of “leaking state secrets” after he wrote an email in 2004 about media restrictions in the lead up to the 15th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. Yahoo provided state security authorities details about Tao’s e-mail usage that ultimately allowed them to trace the message to a computer he used at the newspaper.

Full details about the case can be found here.

“The Board of WAN applauds the US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs for its condemnation of Yahoo for helping the Chinese police to persecute and arrest cyber-reporters and suggests that this should be an inspiration for politicians world-wide to make similar denunciations,” said the WAN resolution.

The House Committee on Foreign Affairs held hearings on Yahoo’s role in the Shi Tao case in November, leading Yahoo Chairman Jerry Yang to apologize to the mother of Shi Tao, and the company to settle a lawsuit brought by his family.

The full resolution can be read here.

The Paris-based WAN, the global organisation for the newspaper industry, defends and promotes press freedom and the professional and business interests of newspapers world-wide. Representing 18,000 newspapers, its membership includes 76 national newspaper associations, newspaper companies and individual newspaper executives in 102 countries, 12 news agencies and 10 regional and world-wide press groups.

Original report from The World Association of Newspapers

Posted in Beijing Olympics, Campaigns, China, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Journalist, Law, Media, News, People, Press freedom, Shi Tao, Social, Speech, Sports, World | 1 Comment »

Wang Zhaojun’s Letter “sharp” and “true”, Says Former ‘Freezing Point’ Chinese Editor Li Datong

Posted by chinaview on November 16, 2007


By Xin Fei, Epoch Times Staff, Nov 11, 2007-Li Datong

A public letter (Part 1) from Wang Zhaojun, Politburo Standing Committee member of Anhui Province, has drawn attention from various circles both at home and overseas. In an interview on November 7, Li Datong, former editor-in-chief of ‘Freezing Point Weekly’— a “China Youth Daily” publication— said that all the issues mentioned in Mr. Wang’s letter are “sharp, true and very important,” adding that it articulated what the majority of Chinese people want to say but dare not to.

(photo: Mr. Li Datong/ from the Epochtimes)

Wang’s letter (Part 1) discussed the many problems China faces today: socioeconomic, political, environmental, freedom of belief, human rights and the media. “People should say whatever they want to say. Mr. Wang Zhaojun has just done what President Hu Jintao talked about at the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) 17th National Congress, in the right to express [oneself],” said Li.

“Wang knows the Chinese populace,” said Li in regard to Wang’s integrity. “He did this because of what needs to be said in Chinese society. He must in some way have heard the voice of the people.”

In the letter— addressed to Chinese leaders Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao— Wang stated that China’s most urgent issue was in stopping the persecution of Falun Gong and filing a lawsuit against those responsible for its nationwide suppression. “It is unconstitutional to use the power of the state to carry out a nationwide suppression of Falun Gong; there is no legal basis for it,” said Li in agreement with Wang’s point. “We also need to go through legal procedures to convict and criminally prosecute those responsible for suppressing Falun Gong.”

“How can the whole country follow the CCP in everything the CCP wants to do?! Shouldn’t it be ‘managing the country according to the law’ like they repeatedly claim to be doing?! How can they blindly label a group of people without a legal trial? Everything has to go through legal procedures; big problems will certainly result without legal procedures,” exclaimed Li.

Li agrees with Wang’s statement in the letter that, “This is clearly not an issue with just Falun Gong, but the suppression of all people across the country!” Li also stated, “By suppressing Falun Gong, it impacts the whole society. The illegal aggression upon any citizen’s rights is an illegal aggression towards everyone and this is a most basic truth. For any citizen, if you ignore the illegal abuse of others, you in fact ignore the abuse of your own rights.”

“Right now there are only a few people who dare to speak out. We can not expect that everyone will dare to speak out overnight—it needs to be led and cultivated slowly,” stated Li in regard to fixing China’s social problems. “It’s most important that the masses make changes by themselves and not simply wait for the problem to solve itself.”

‘Freezing Point’

Early last year, “Freezing Point” focused on reporting about people living at the bottom of society. It regularly criticized corruption and exposed the faults and deficiencies of the current Chinese society. It was ordered to suspend publication on January 24 because it published an article titled “Modernization and History Textbooks,” written by Zhongshan University professor Yuan Weishi. The CCP’s Ministry of Publicity was angered by this article and ordered suspension of the magazine. This action drew criticism both at home and abroad.

Editor-in-chief Li Datong and deputy editor Lu Yuegang appealed to reopen the publication. Li Rui, former assistant to Mao Zedong, and other former high ranking CCP officials, as well as several editors and lawyers, supported Li and Lu in their appeal to reinstate the publication. Under overwhelming demand for its return, “Freezing Point” was opened again, but only after careful reorganization of the editorial staff— Li and Lu have been removed from the office and were transferred to ‘China Youth Daily’s’ News Research Institute.

– Original report from the Epochtimes : A Poignant Letter to Chinese Leadership

Posted in China, Human Rights, Journalist, Law, News, Official, People, Politics, Religion, Social, Speech, Wang Zhaojun, World | Comments Off

China: Propaganda Authorities’ Intervention Increase, Journalist Banned Over Serious Corruption Reports

Posted by chinaview on November 15, 2007


By Edward Cody, Washington Post Foreign Service, U.S, Monday, November 12, 2007-

BEIJING — A few weeks ago, Pang Jiaoming’s career as a reporter ended, just two years after it began.

The Communist Party’s Central Propaganda Department and the official All-China Journalists Association issued a directive ordering Pang’s employer, the China Economic Times, not only to fire him, but also to “reinforce the Marxist ideological education of its journalists.” In a separate notice to news organizations across China, Pang said, propaganda officials announced that he was also banned from further work as a reporter at other publications.

Pang’s offense was a pair of articles reporting that substandard coal ash was being used in construction of a showcase railroad, the $12 billion high-speed line running 500 miles between Wuhan, in Hubei province, and Guangzhou, an industrial hub just north of Hong Kong. The ash is a key ingredient in concrete used for tunnels, bridges and roadbed, Pang wrote, and a substandard mix raised the specter of collapsing structures and tragic accidents.

Pang’s report, which was published on the front page, illustrated the growing desire of young Chinese reporters to push the limits of the country’s draconian censorship system. In a booming and fast-transforming economy riddled with corruption, they have found a fertile field for investigative journalism, along with readers increasingly hungry to know about malfeasance that affects their lives.

But his fate also dramatized how helpless China’s journalists remain under the thumb of an authoritarian government that maintains a vast propaganda bureaucracy with unquestioned power to control what is published and decide who rises and falls in the news business.

Change has begun, with visible loosening since the 1970s. But the party’s propaganda mandarins have retained the power to intervene whenever they decide to do so, and in the past several years they have intervened with increasing, although unpredictable, frequency. As a result, working as a reporter in China has come to mean succumbing as a compliant propagandist or dancing along the censors’ red line — making each story a high-stakes gamble on how far to go.

“China is a heaven for investigative reporting, since it has a lot of interesting things to cover, but it is not a heaven for Chinese investigative reporters,” said Zhan Jiang, journalism dean at the China Youth University for Political Sciences in Beijing.

Pang, a slight Hainan Island native with a sparse mustache and hair hanging unfashionably down the back of his neck, had an unlikely background for someone trying to play the edge. He graduated in 2005 from the China Youth University for Political Sciences, which traditionally has been a training ground for the Communist Youth League once led by President Hu Jintao.

Nevertheless, Pang gravitated swiftly toward investigative journalism, focusing on economic corruption and environmental degradation.

Money wasn’t the lure; Pang said he earned about $120 a month in salary and, with the per-word payments common in Chinese journalism, was able to add another $300. But Pang decided it was the work for him. Soon after starting, he wrote about pollution in Jiangsu province. Then he took aim at pollution in Shanxi province, coal mining corruption in Hunan province and abuse of pasture lands in Inner Mongolia. In his wake were dozens of local officials angered by the disclosures.

As a result, Pang became known at the Central Propaganda Department as someone willing to cross the line. His image was further defined by a sassy blog that featured drawings of the classic see-no-evil, hear-no-evil, speak-no-evil monkeys.

Pang’s latest gamble began in June, when several letters arrived at his newspaper’s Beijing headquarters. Because substandard ash was used in the mix, said a writer working on the railroad project, concrete was getting stuck in construction site funnels. After looking into the problems that substandard ash could cause and getting his editor’s approval, Pang boarded a train south and launched his investigation. What he found, he said, were five factories selling ash rated below the national standard for use in concrete. Pang said he witnessed the substandard ash being loaded into trucks and mixed into concrete for use on the railroad. He had samples of the ash analyzed by two laboratories, which found it did not meet China’s standards, he added.

There was a difference of about $12 a ton between the substandard ash, which contained rock and other waste, and the mandated fine ash, which comes mostly from the smoke of coal burned in power plants, Pang said. That meant a lot of money was being made from fraud, he suggested, probably at the railroad construction company as well as at the coal ash providers.

“If there was no cooperation between the railroad construction company and the sellers of the coal ash, how could all this be done?” he asked.

With its clear suggestion of corruption and safety hazards, the first article drew a swift reaction when it appeared July 4. Pang said his editors got calls from the Railway Ministry, the Central Propaganda Department and the All-China Journalists Association urging that nothing further be written on the subject.

The ministry and its Wuhan-Guangzhou Passenger Dedicated Line subsidiary issued denials, meanwhile, saying their own analyses showed that ingredients in the concrete met the standard. Undeterred, Pang published a second report July 24, offering further details from what he described as “inside sources” and repeating his allegations.

Angered by the challenge, and apparently responding to upset officials in the Railway Ministry, the Central Propaganda Department demanded to see Pang’s documentation. Pang said he handed over his material as requested, but without revealing his sources. The next move by propaganda officials, he said, was to hold a meeting Aug. 27 between the newspaper editors, on one side, and on the other, railway officials, university specialists and a senior representative of the All-China Journalists Association. All of the latter condemned the stories, saying they had damaged the reputation of the railroad in China and abroad. A week later, an official ruling declared that the ash in question had been analyzed and was without problem. That was followed by the firing order.

“Our investigation showed that Pang’s report was untrue and not comprehensive,” said Sun Zhaohua, who attended the meeting as director of the self-discipline division at the All-China Journalists Association.

Pang said he was not surprised to see Sun join the attack on his stories. The journalists association does not represent journalists, he said, but serves as a wing of the Central Propaganda Department.

“I don’t see anybody who protects us journalists,” Pang said. “But maybe I can protect myself.” To do so, he has continued his investigation, accumulating what he says is more scientific proof that substandard ash was used.

But aligned against Pang and his kind is a formidable propaganda bureaucracy that has been a key part of the Chinese Communist Party since the days of Mao Zedong.

Li Changchun, who guides the machinery as head of the Central Leading Group on Propaganda and Ideological Work, was just reappointed to the Politburo’s Standing Committee, the apex of power in China. His deputy, Liu Yunshan, who was just reappointed to the Politburo, has since 2002 administered the Central Propaganda Department, headquartered in a new building next to the Zhongnanhai leadership compound and a few hundred yards from Tiananmen Square.

Liu’s operation, with about 250 staff members, has been assigned mainly to monitor domestic information. Efforts to control, or at least influence, foreign information about China have been entrusted to the party’s External Propaganda Leading Group, which merged 16 years ago with the State Council Information Office, according to David L. Shambaugh, a China specialist at George Washington University writing in the January issue of the China Journal.

In addition, the party’s central bureaucracy has been replicated dozens of times in provincial and municipal offices around the country.

The New China News Agency, although an organ of the government, has been assigned a number of party propaganda officials to monitor reports from each department. The agency, ostensibly a public news purveyor, also has been tasked with writing internal government reports, providing the party and government with news the public is not allowed to see. A former editor said senior correspondents have long vied to write official reports rather than general news, hoping to get noticed by party cadres.

Pang said he was not dismayed by the odds despite his experience. His girlfriend, also from Hainan, has continued to work and bring in money, he said, adding, “Myself, I’ll just have to wait and see for a while.”

- Original report from Washington Post : Chinese Muckraking a High-Stakes Gamble

Posted in Beijing, censorship, Central China, China, corruption, Freedom of Speech, Guangdong, Guangzhou, Hubei, Human Rights, Journalist, Law, Media, News, Newspaper, People, Politics, SE China, Social, World, Wuhan | Comments Off

Yahoo Settles With Jailed Chinese Dissidents

Posted by chinaview on November 14, 2007


By John Letzing, MarketWatch, Nov 13, 2007-

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Yahoo Inc. on Tuesday settled a lawsuit filed by Chinese dissidents and their family members who accused the Internet company of complicity in their jailing, following a humiliating episode on Capitol Hill.

Yahoo had been sued earlier this year in California by Wang Xiaoning, Shi Tao and Yu Ling for allegedly providing Chinese authorities with personal information that led to Shi and Wang’s imprisonment and torture.

In a joint stipulation of dismissal filed in U.S. District Court in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, Yahoo and the plaintiffs say they have reached a “private settlement understanding,” though they disclosed no details. Yahoo agreed to bear the dissidents’ legal costs, according to the filing.

In a prepared statement, Yahoo Chief Executive Jerry Yang said that Yahoo will now provide “financial, humanitarian and legal support” to the jailed dissidents’ families. Separately, Yang said Yahoo is also now establishing a fund “to provide support to other political dissidents and their families.”

Morton Sklar, an attorney representing the plaintiffs, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The settlement follows a dramatic appearance by Yang before a House committee earlier this month. Yang had been called to testify about his company’s responsibility for the jailing of Shi, a journalist who had used Yahoo services to post messages to a pro-democracy Web site.

In previous testimony in 2006, Yahoo general counsel Michael Callahan had said Yahoo had no understanding of why Chinese authorities were interested in Shi, when the company was asked to provide information about him.

Evidence later published by the San Francisco-based Dui Hua Foundation, however, indicated that Yahoo was aware that the authorities were investigating Shi’s part in the sharing of “state secrets.”

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Lantos, D-Calif., grilled Yang at the committee hearing earlier this month about what his company has done to help Shi’s family, following his jailing.

Yang apologized to Shi’s family at the hearing, and soon after met personally with family members.

“After meeting with the families, it was clear to me what we had to do to make this right for them, for Yahoo and for the future,” Yang said in his statement Tuesday.

It remains unclear, however, how other Internet companies aiming to compete in the Chinese market plan to prevent similar incidents. Yahoo has claimed that it was merely following local laws by handing user information to Chinese authorities, raising the possibility that others may face similar requests.

In a statement issued late Tuesday, Amnesty International director of business and human rights Amy O’Meara said that, “Compensation may help bring a small measure of justice to the families of Shi Tao and Wang Xiaoning, but it does not fix the underlying problem.”

“Band-Aid fixes are not going to stop a case like this from happening again,” O’Meara said.

John Letzing is a MarketWatch reporter based in San Francisco.

- Original report from MarketWatch

Posted in China, Company, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Journalist, Law, News, People, Shi Tao, Social, Speech, USA, World, Yahoo | Comments Off

China Breaks All Promises to IOC With Database on Journalists, More Propaganda and Press Control

Posted by chinaview on November 14, 2007


Reporters Without Borders, 13 November 2007-

Reporters Without Borders today condemned recent decisions by the Chinese authorities to create files on foreign journalists, reinforce Olympic Games propaganda efforts and reject any possibility of increased access for foreign news agencies to the Chinese market.

As a result of an outcry, the authorities have now denied the existence of any such files and are blaming a “bad journalist” employed by the state media. But everything suggests that the government is compiling files on many journalists and human rights activists in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics.

“After the Communist Party of China congress, we had been hoping for significant measures to improve press freedom before the Olympics,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Instead, the government and organisers of the games have decided keep files on foreign journalists, supposedly in order to identify ‘fake’ ones. Keeping files on journalists opens the way for every kind of abuse.”

The press freedom organisation added: “We are also outraged by the Propaganda Department’s orders to the Chinese media about coverage of preparations for the games. This dashes our hopes of greater editorial freedom in the run-up to next August. When the organisers of the games and the Beijing authorities misbehave in this manner, the International Olympic Committee should react and should firmly remind them of the undertakings given in 2001.”

The Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported that the Propaganda Department last week sent a directive to the leading Chinese news media asking them to avoid publishing negative stories on matters affecting the games such as air pollution, a dispute over Taiwan’s inclusion in the Olympic torch relay, and public health issues.

The government newspaper China Daily meanwhile reported that the authorities, in particular the General Administration of Press and Publications (GAPP) was compiling files on the approximately 30,000 journalists expected to get accreditation for the games.

The official reason given was the need to identify “fake journalists” and to help Chinese officials respond to interview requests. But the government has not said what kind of information will be gathered. The GAPP has been campaigning against “fake journalists,” accusing them of being a “threat to society,” and Liu Binjie, the minister in charge of the GAPP, has promised they will be severely punished.

A campaign was launched in August against “fake journalists” who use bogus accreditation with foreign news media, including Hong Kong media, to practise extortion and disinformation. Reporters Without Borders is aware of four recent arrests of “fake journalists.” The most recent case was this week in the northeastern province of Liaoning, where those arrested were two of the editors of The Social News, a newspaper regarded by the authorities as illegal. It is very hard to independently verify the facts when the authorities accuse journalists or news media of being fake.

The authorities have just announced that this campaign, which is due to continue until March, has netted 150 “fake journalists” and 300 unlicensed news media. Several independent journalists and Chinese intellectuals have condemn a new crackdown on journalists who are not directly affiliated to any news organisation or to China’s sole official journalists union.

Finally, the authorities have refused to relax the regulations on foreign news agencies operating inside the country. In response to questions by the European Union, Canada, Japan and the United States before the Word Trade Organisation, China said yesterday that it had not signed any provision requiring it to open up the business news market.

When the government reinforced the state news agency Xinhua’s control over the distribution of foreign news agency content in China in September 2006, Reporters Without Borders described Xinhua as a predator of free enterprise and the freedom to report the news.

- Original report from Reporters Without Borders : With files on journalists, more propaganda and control over news agencies, Beijing is breaking all promises to IOC

Posted in Beijing, Beijing Olympics, censorship, China, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Journalist, Law, Media, News, People, Politics, Press freedom, Social, Speech, Sports, World | Comments Off

CPJ: A crackdown on “fake” foreign reporters in China draws a rebuke

Posted by chinaview on November 13, 2007


the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) -

New York, November 12, 2007—The Chinese government should abandon its crackdown on so-called “fake” foreign journalists in advance of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. CPJ expressed alarm that the government’s plan, which includes amassing records of thousands of foreign journalists seeking Olympics accreditation, is a pretext to block critical reporters from covering the Games.

Officials are compiling a database of all reporters allowed to work in China during the Olympic Games, the official China Daily reported Sunday, quoting Liu Binjie, minister of the General Administration of Press and Publication. Eight thousand reporters who will be allowed into Olympic venues have already been entered into the database, while thousands of other journalists allowed to work in China during the Games will also be included, Liu said Sunday. The list will be made available to interviewees, he said. It was not immediately clear what information will be stored in the database or how it is being collected.

A spokeswoman for the International Olympic Committee could not be immediately reached for comment on the Chinese plan. One human rights group—the China Aid Association—recently reported that the Ministry of Public Security is circulating instructions to its local bureaus to restrict the entry of potentially troublesome people, including media employees. The government has not officially confirmed the existence of the directive.

“The Olympics cannot continue to be used an excuse for restricting press freedom in China,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “Allegations of ‘fake’ reporting are a transparent justification for extending the Chinese government’s strict control of press coverage, in violation of all their promises to the contrary. We call on the government to institute the absolute freedom of the press that was guaranteed when the Games were awarded.”

The government launched a campaign in August against what it called “phony” domestic journalists. The effort, now expanded to include foreigners, will be extended until March, according to the Xinhua News Agency. The government claims to have detected 150 fake reporters and 300 unregistered publications so far, according to China Daily. A national hotline is soliciting allegations of illegal journalism, newspapers or news reports.

Domestically, CPJ research shows, a small criminal industry has emerged in which people have fabricated press cards, presented themselves falsely as reporters, and extorted money from subjects in exchange for “withholding” embarrassing or negative information. The scope of the issue has not been independently determined; no cases involving foreigners have been publicly disclosed.

In the run-up to the Games, China has failed to meet its promises to allow free and unfettered news coverage, CPJ found in the special report, “Falling Short,” issued in August. In the 79-page report, CPJ found that Chinese leaders have maintained a vast censorship system, imprisoned dozens of journalists, and harassed many more.

- Original report from CPJ 

Posted in Beijing, Beijing Olympics, censorship, China, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Journalist, News, People, Politics, Social, Sports, World | Comments Off

Canadian Association of Journalists Concerned Over CBC Documentary Withdrawal Undering Complaints From China

Posted by chinaview on November 11, 2007


Press release, by The Canadian Association of Journalists, via Newswire.ca, Nov. 9, 2007-

OTTAWA, Nov. 9 /CNW/ – The Canadian Association of Journalists is disappointed that CBC News chose not to air a documentary Nov. 6, in the wake of last-minute complaints from Chinese officials.

“The CAJ is concerned the CBC has sent a message of self-censorship by pulling a previously aired and carefully vetted documentary just as it was about to be broadcast,” said CAJ president Mary Agnes Welch.

The CBC had already aired Beyond the Red Wall this spring and Radio-Canada aired a French-dubbed version last month, nearly a year after getting a green light from CBC lawyers and senior editors.

The report documents the experience of a Canadian member of the spiritual movement Falun Gong, which is outlawed in China.

CBC spokesman Jeff Keay confirmed that after receiving calls from China’s embassy in Ottawa and its consulate in Toronto, the independent public broadcaster decided to pull the documentary from its lineup. He explained the CBC is to review the content “to make sure it’s a good, solid project.”

Keay noted that the Chinese government is concerned about articles in the Chinese-language press, which claim the CBC supports Falun Gong. He added that political upheaval in Pakistan also led the CBC to withdraw the broadcast by Toronto documentarian Peter Rowe and re-air a report on Pakistan’s president, Pervez Musharraf.

The CAJ regards editorial independence as a cornerstone of good journalism and notes its importance in a statement of principles. The document urges journalists to resist the influence of private and public interests such as governments. The CAJ is developing a detailed position paper about editorial independence.

The Canadian Association of Journalists is a professional organization with some 1,500 members across Canada. The CAJ’s primary role is to provide public-interest advocacy and high quality professional development for its members.

For further information: Mary Agnes Welch, president, CAJ, (204) 943-6575; John Dickins, executive director, CAJ, (613) 868-5442, http://www.caj.ca; Personne-ressource: Sue Montgomery, administratrice, ACJ, (514) 248-1928

- Original report from Newswire.ca : CAJ concerned over report’s withdrawal

Posted in Canada, censorship, China, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Journalist, Media, News, People, Politics, Press freedom, Speech, TV / film, World | 1 Comment »

Censorship Glossaries Exposed Before China “Journalists Day”, with 33 Imprisoned

Posted by chinaview on November 10, 2007


Reporters Without Borders, 7 November 2007-

On the eve of “Journalists’ Day,” which China is celebrating tomorrow, Reporters Without Borders calls on the authorities to stop violating journalists’ rights on a massive scale. The record leaves no room for doubt – 33 journalists are currently detained, several dozen have been injured this year and one has been killed.

To illustrate the scope of the government’s editorial control, the press freedom organisation is publishing a message which the Publicity Department sent to the leading Chinese media before last month’s congress of the Communist Party of China. Obtained from a Beijing news organisation, this message clearly shows how the Publicity Department (formerly called, less discreetly, the Propaganda Department) forces journalists to censor many news items and to censor themselves.

The message is a clear call to order. It explains that when a note entitled “Reporting ban” is issued, the media are strictly forbidden to publish any report on the subject. Similarly, when a note is sent to news media saying, “Do not send reporter,” it means they are forbidden to cover the story themselves and must limit themselves to using the dispatches of the government news agency Xinhua.

Glossary used for propaganda requirements

So that the Publicity Department’s directives are applied better, that news staff respect the rules of discipline established for news reports, and that news reports are shared as much as possible, here is the specific glossary. We hope it will enable news organisations to increase their understanding of directives and put them into practice.

1 – “Reporting ban” means ban on writing a report on the subject.

2 – “Do not send reporter” means permission to publish the Xinhua news agency’s standard article or to reproduce the report or column published by a local news media.

3 – “Ban on criticising” means no comment on the subject, including comment by means of a cartoon.

4 – “No exaggeration” means objective report, no editorializing or front page photo.

5 – “Absolutely no exaggeration” means the same.

6 – “No opportunism” means no front-page analysis, a story of less than a full page, and a ban on doing a series of reports.

7 – “Absolutely no opportunism” means no front-page analysis, a story of less than a full page, no big headlines and no series of reports.

8 – “No reporting without permission” means possibility of publishing the Xinhua news agency standard article or sending a request to the Publicity Department with the proposed article’s angle and word count.

9 – “No reporting for the time being” means no reporting.

10 – “No participation” means no reporting.

In the light of the massive censorship imposed by the Publicity Department in the run-up to the party congress, Reporters Without Borders is supporting the “Declaration against the Propaganda Department” that university academic Jiao Guobiao wrote in 2004. Jiao said in his essay that “censorship by the Community Party of China is blocking the civilised development of Chinese society” and that the Propaganda Department is “the bastion of the most reactionary forces and allows them to abuse their authority.”

Three days ahead of Journalists’ Day this year, the General Administration of Press and Publications (GAPP) issued a report recognising that Chinese journalists face many problems in the course of their work. It said some journalists were subject to pressure from within the private sector to suppress certain stories. Others were the victims of physical violence.

But no mention was made of cases such as that of Pang Jiaoming of China Economic Times, who was punished by the authorities in July for writing a story about the poor quality of the material used to build the rails for the first high-speed train link between Wuhan and Guangzhou.

The GAPP report also criticised journalists who take money to write publicity pieces for companies, and those who use their position to blackmail people. It also referred to the problem of undeclared journalists and defended the obligatory press card, but it took no serious account of the situation of freelance journalists. This is because there is a single journalists union, which is affiliated to the Communist Party.

Reporters Without Borders would also like to mention the case of Lan Chengzhang, a journalist who was beaten to death on 10 January by thugs in the pay of an illegal mine owner in the northern province of Shanxi. Lan worked for China Trade News but as he was working on a trial basis, the authorities refused to regard him as a journalist. He did not yet have a press card and was not authorised to go out and do his own stories.

For this reason, Chinese officials and the media accused him being a “false journalist” who was trying to blackmail people – a charge often used to discredit investigative journalists who dig up embarrassing facts. His murderers did, however, get prison sentences.

The GAPP report also said that “reports must be true, accurate, objective and fair, and must not oppose the interests of the state or infringe on citizens’ rights.” But at no moment did the GAPP mention the problems of censorship which the Chinese media face.

- Origina report from Reporters Without Borders

Posted in censorship, China, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Journalist, Law, News, People, Politics, Social, Speech, World | Comments Off

‘Morally you are pygmies’– Lawmaker Scolds Yahoo Over Jailed China Journalist

Posted by chinaview on November 8, 2007


By John Boudreau, San Jose Mercury News, U.S, 11/07/2007 -

Under scorching criticism for Yahoo’s role in handing over e-mail records to Chinese authorities that led to the imprisonment of journalist Shi Tao, Chief Executive Jerry Yang and General Counsel Michael Callahan on Tuesday rose from behind the witness table at a congressional hearing and bowed to Shi’s mother.

Gao Qinsheng, sitting directly behind them, bowed in return. Then she began to sob.

The stunning moment of apparent contrition from two powerful Silicon Valley executives punctuated a day of verbal fireworks as the House Foreign Affairs Committee berated Yahoo for giving up the identity of dissident Shi, who is now serving a 10-year prison sentence.

“While technologically and financially you are giants, morally you are pygmies,” scolded committee Chairman Tom Lantos, a San Mateo Democrat.

The Yahoo executives had again found themselves in the cross hairs of the committee after Lantos charged that Callahan provided false information to Congress in 2006. At that time, Callahan testified that in the case of dissident Shi, Yahoo did not know to whom the e-mail address belonged or why Chinese police were seeking the information.

Callahan since has acknowledged that Yahoo officials had received a subpoena-like document that made reference to suspected “illegal provision of state secrets” – a common charge against political dissidents. Last week, Callahan apologized for not telling Congress that he learned the details of the document months after his February 2006 testimony.

Yang defended the company’s commitment to human rights while describing the importance of China’s market, which has close to 200 million Internet users, an online population that could soon surpass that of the United States.

Callahan contended that Yahoo employees in China had little choice but to comply with the government’s demands. “I cannot ask our local employees to resist lawful demands and put their own freedom at risk, even if, in my personal view, the local laws are overbroad,” he said.

The two executives were subjected to a bipartisan pummeling in which committee member Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., compared Yahoo’s cooperation with the Chinese government to companies that cooperated with Nazi Germany during World War II.

The bruising committee hearing, during which Lantos called the Sunnyvale Internet giant “spineless and irresponsible,” underscored the ethical shoals Silicon Valley companies must navigate in the global economy.

Even as Yang and Callahan testified, the lure of overseas markets was highlighted as shares of Alibaba.com, which owns China’s largest online business-to-business Web site, nearly tripled during its first day of public trading in Hong Kong. In 2005, Yahoo invested $1 billion in Alibaba and owns about 40 percent of the company. Alibaba now runs Yahoo China.

Companies face numerous challenges in tough markets like China, where the government can be friend and foe, observers say.

Just last month, for instance, search engines operated by Google, Yahoo China and Microsoft were redirected to Baidu, a Chinese-owned search provider, at the same time Tibet’s spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, whom China accuses of being a “splitist,” met with President Bush and was awarded the highest congressional civilian award. China’s government rarely explains such actions, but some experts assume it was a form of retaliation.

“There are in the Internet filtering business all manner of coincidences,” observed John Palfrey, executive director of the Berkman Center for the Internet and Society at Harvard University, which closely monitors the Web. “It’s hard to know if they are connected, though it sure looks that way.” …… ( more details from San Jose Mercury News)

Posted in Business, Businessman, China, Company, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Journalist, Law, News, People, Politics, Shi Tao, USA, World, Yahoo | Comments Off

Top Yahoo Officials Apologize to Mother of Jailed China Journalist

Posted by chinaview on November 7, 2007


AFP, Nov.6, 2007-

WASHINGTON (AFP) — Top Yahoo officials at a US congressional hearing Tuesday nodded in silent apology to the mother of a Chinese journalist, who was jailed after the Internet giant provided information to Beijing police.

The gesture at a fully-packed hearing came after the House of Representatives’ Committee on Foreign Affairs sharply rebuked Yahoo for not providing full information in a congressional probe into the American company’s role in landing Chinese journalist Shi Tao behind bars.

He was convicted in 2005 of divulging state secrets after he posted a Chinese government order forbidding media organizations from marking the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square uprising on the Internet.

Police identified him using information provided by Yahoo. He was sentenced to 10 years in jail.

The US corporation defends its action on the grounds that it has to comply with China’s laws to operate there.

But Tom Lantos, the foreign affairs committee chairman, said, “I do not believe America’s best and brightest companies should be playing integral roles in China’s notorious and brutal political repression apparatus.”

Lantos then asked Yahoo chief executive officer Jerry Yang and the company’s executive vice president and general counsel, Michael Callahan, to “beg the forgiveness” of Shi Tao’s mother, “whose son is languishing behind bars due to Yahoo’s actions.”

The Yahoo executives responded spontaneously, turning to Shi Tao’s mum Gao Qinsheng, who was sitting immediately behind them, and nodding several times.

Lantos earlier said that his bipartisan committee’s investigations on Yahoo’s testimony on Shi Tao’s case to the panel in February 2006 “has established that Yahoo provided false information to Congress.”

The panel also rejected Yahoo’s defense for not providing full information at the hearing last year. The company had apologized for the information slip-up, citing a misunderstanding.

“Yahoo claims that this is just one big misunderstanding. Let me be clear — this was no misunderstanding. This was inexcusably negligent behavior at best, and deliberately deceptive behavior at worst,” he said.

“Either Yahoo has little regard for providing full and complete information to a fully constituted committee of the Congress, or it has little regard for the issue of protecting human rights,” he said……. (more details from AFP)

Posted in censorship, China, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Journalist, Law, News, People, Politics, Speech, USA, World | Comments Off

China Force Editor to Close Economic Newsletter Website For “endanger the security of the state”

Posted by chinaview on November 7, 2007


Reporters Without Borders, 6 November 2007-

Reporters Without Borders condemns the closure of the bimonthly online newspaper China Development Brief (http://www.chinadevelopmentbrief.com/). Nick Young, its founder and editor, announced on 10 October that he will stop publishing because negotiations with police and government officials “brought no useful result.”

Young was denied entry to the country in September by immigration officials who cited article 12 of the immigration law. This says that foreigners who “might endanger the security of the state or the social order of China” should not be allowed into the country.

“The authorities could not order the closure of this newsletter as it is hosted on a server in the UK, so they prevented its editor from working in China,” Reporters Without Borders said. “By means of unproductive negotiations, the government has forced Young to abandon a 12-year-old publication.”

The Beijing public security bureau and the Beijing statistical bureau ordered Young to cease all publication in China on 4 July on the grounds that he had violated the Statistics Law by conducting “unauthorised surveys” on sensitive subjects (such as the HIV/AIDS epidemic and rioting against the single child policy.

- Original report from Reporters Without Borders: Authorities force editor to close China Development Brief for good

Related:
Growing Censorship of socio-economic News: Pro-china Newsletter Banned by Beijing

Posted in censorship, China, Economy, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Internet, Journalist, Media, News, People, Politics, Press freedom, Social, Speech, website, World | Comments Off

Folk Song: China News Agencies– “a dog raised by the Party”

Posted by chinaview on November 7, 2007


Chinese People have described Chinese news agencies as the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) lap dog. Here’s one folk song:

“It is a dog raised by the Party

guarding the Party’s gate

It would bite anyone the Party wants it to bite

and bite however many times the Party wants it to.”

Original Chinese (in case you read Chinese as well):

“我是党的一条狗
守在党的大门口
党让咬谁就咬谁
让咬几口咬几口。”

Mr. Fan Huiqiang, former reporter of Beijing Radio Broadcast, who made a speech on a symposium held by outspoken Overseas Chinese Newspaper The EpochTimes in Melbourne, Australia on On October 23, 2007, quoted some sayings of the Chinese people and spoke of his personal experience on how the Chinese media is merely a tool used by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to deceive both China and the Western world.

Mr. Fan begun his speech with quoting Chinese people’s saying that:

- When people describe reports from China’s Xinhua News Agency they say, “Nothing is true but the date.”

- When people describe the programming found on China Central Television Station (CCTV) they say, “Nothing is true but the ‘Animal World (a program produced by CCTV).’ “

Some of Mr. Fan’s personal experience:

- On April 5, 1976 people in Beijing went to Tiananmen Square to mourn the death of former Premier Zhou Enlai. The authorities did not like people to mourn the premier so they ordered to disperse the people with force. Politburo member Yao Wenyuan, who was in charge of propaganda, came to the then broadcasting administrative bureau and held a press briefing. He declared the gathering an anti-revolutionary activity. Therefore all media directly under the central government would follow the same line.

- In the days before the Internet, the CCP jammed signals from the BBC, VOA, and Taiwanese radio stations, and branded these as enemy transmissions, and those found listening to these stations would be punished. In the summer of 1978 I went back to Shanghai City to visit my parents. One day, I switched the radio on and tuned to Beijing Radio Broadcast’s English broadcast. Since it was very hot inside the house I turned the volume a bit louder so that I could hear the radio from outside. Soon, a lady from our neighborhood committee came over to see what was going on. Since she could not understand the language being spoken on the radio, she thought I was listening to a foreign station. She started to question me about the content. When I explained that it was one of our own radio stations and it was the very station I was working for she was not convinced. Only when the “The East Is Red” came on was she satisfied and left.

- When satellite TV and the Internet came into being, people outside China thought that the Chinese people would now be able to freely access information. But they have been proven wrong. The CCP screened Internet content with what they called the “Golden Shield” firewall which blocks all so-called “sensitive” topics and words.

- ( Regarding the June 4th Tiananmen Square Massacr, 1989) I was working at Radio Australia …… , we received thousands of letters from China. All the letters from Beijing described the massacre they had seen or experienced. These listeners all accused the CCP of murdering its own people with guns and tanks. Some listeners vividly described how people were shot dead around them. As a matter of fact, the deputy director of Beijing Radio Broadcast’s Russian Department was shot dead on his way back from work.

However, listeners from other parts of the country all believed the version they got from the Chinese media. They thought no one was killed and in their letters they enclosed local newspaper clippings accusing the “mob” of anti-revolutionary activities and claims that the students attacked the soldiers.

- When SARS occurred in China the Chinese media covered up the facts for a long period of time. When it could not cover up the true situation any more it finally admitted the existence of the epidemic. The strategy then switched to blanket coverage of how much the Chinese government was concerned about people’s welfare, and promoting that under Party leadership SARS would be brought under control and finally eliminated.

- One hoax occurred during Nixon’s visit to Shanghai in the early 1970s. American officials were visiting China for the very first time since the CCP took power. During his travels, Mr. Nixon was accompanied by a group of what people called China experts. In order to leave the American visitors with a good impression a large scale campaign was organized. A friend who lived in Huangpu District where the famous Nanjing Road is located told me a story. She said her neighborhood committee asked her to go to Nanjing Road at a specific date and time. She was told to dress in her best clothes and walk along a certain section of the road. Therefore, when Mr. Nixon arrived, it would give him the impression there were a lot of well-dressed people walking along the Nanking Road. This was, of course, an illusion as they were there merely to fulfill a political task.

The store Nixon was to visit also received orders and prepared for their performance. They made up a whole new set of marked down price tags for every item for sale in the shop. Shop assistants were advised that when certain music was played they had to change all the usual price tags with the new ones. In this way the Americans would be impressed at how cheap prices were in China. That was a very complicated campaign involving thousands of people and the coordination of many departments. However, the CCP managed it with ease.

- I have been personally involved in one of these campaigns of deception. In 1978 when a film crew from America’s NBC network was making a documentary on Chin’s education system I worked as their interpreter. During their filming they requested to take shots of a food market in Beijing. We, the hosts, contacted Dongsi Market and told them foreigners would go there to shoot a documentary and advised them to get well prepared. I have to explain here, the host would be held responsible if the image of the Party or socialism was damaged in any way. On the day when we arrived I was amazed myself at the transformation. The normally barren market was full of goodies. There were live chickens and ducks, live fish, lean pork meat, all sorts of fresh vegetables and soybean products like tofu. When the documentary was broadcasted in America, people would think it was a typical food market in China, but actually it is not.

In the end of his speech, Mr. Fan revealed how the CCP spent huge sums of money to control the overseas media, especially the overseas Chinese media:

(1) Completely take over or at least buy up the majority of shares of a media company so as to directly control the overseas Chinese newspapers, TV stations and radio stations;
(2) Use an independent media company’s business interests in China as a means of gaining influence and exerting economic blackmail;
(3) Buy blocks of air-time or advertising space;
(4) Have Chinese government employees infiltrate media organizations to cause disruption from within.

As a result, CCP

- reprints the Party’s newspaper the “People’s Daily” here in Australia, which is given away free of charge and it has also been distributed to all the Chinese language schools, Chinese shops and restaurants.

- CCTV has also landed here in Australia.

- The tragedy is a lot of Chinese people who’ve fled their country and have settled down in Australia still read the “People’s Daily” and watch CCTV. Therefore, their mindset is still in line with the Party.

Mr. Fan Huiqiang’s fall speech is available from the Epochtimes Website:

Former Chinese Reporter Reveals CCP’s Far Reaching Propoganda

Posted in Australia, China, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Journalist, Media, News, Overseas Chinese, People, Politics, Press freedom, Report, Social, Speech, World, Xinhua | Comments Off

On China’s Journalists Day, Foreign and Domestic Media Under Attack

Posted by chinaview on November 6, 2007


Human Rights Watch, Nov 6, 2007-

(New York, November 6, 2007) – The International Olympic Committee should mark China’s official Journalists’ Day on Thursday by ending its silence on the Chinese government’s ongoing violations of its pledge on media freedoms, a commitment it made to the IOC to win its bid to host the 2008 Olympics Games in Beijing, Human Rights Watch said today.

As part of this pledge, China in theory now allows foreign journalists to speak with any consenting interviewees under temporary regulations, which were enacted on January 1, 2007 and will expire on October 17, 2008. But in practice, foreign correspondents routinely face harassment, detention and intimidation at the hands of Chinese security forces and plainclothes thugs who appear to operate at official behest.

“The IOC’s reluctance to challenge the Chinese government’s ongoing violations of media freedoms is at odds with the Olympic Charter’s dedication to ‘ethical principles’ and ‘preservation of human dignity,’” said Sophie Richardson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “If the IOC can criticize the Chinese government’s failure to improve Beijing’s air quality ahead of the 2008 Games, why can’t it speak out about China’s failure to respect its Olympic pledge on press freedom?”

In the past month, an Agence France Presse reporter and an American colleague were harassed and detained in a public park in central Beijing for the alleged crime of taking photographs of an informal matchmaking service. Guards seized and roughed up a foreign television crew that had discovered an illegal detention center in Beijing for petitioners (rural citizens who come by the thousands to Beijing seeking redress for official injustices). The journalists were turned over to police who held them for six hours and accused them of offences including “illegally filming a government building.”

BBC correspondent Dan Griffiths spent a day in police detention after he traveled in Shengyou village in Hebei province to cover simmering unrest. Griffiths later discovered that the bolts holding his car’s wheels to the chassis had been tampered with.

Unfortunately, there have been many other similar violations of media freedom since the regulations came into effect. These have been meticulously documented and published by the media as well as by groups including Human Rights Watch, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and Reporters Without Borders. The IOC is aware of such routine violations of media freedom and of these organizations’ reports.

The temporary regulations do not extend to Chinese reporters or to the local assistants, researchers and translators on whom foreign correspondents depend. All these journalists remain vulnerable to reprisals from state security authorities for pursuing stories that run counter to official propaganda dictates on what constitutes acceptable news.

“In less than a year, some 20,000 foreign journalists are expected to arrive to Beijing to cover the Olympics, and it’s time for the IOC to step up and defend journalists’ freedom to report,” said Richardson. “What sort of a message will the IOC’s silence send to the Chinese government?”

- Original report from Human Rights Watch : China: IOC Should End Silence on Press Freedom Violations

Posted in Beijing, China, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Journalist, Law, Media, News, People, Politics, Press freedom, Report, Social, Speech, World | 1 Comment »

CPJ Report: Falling Short – As the 2008 Olympics Approach, China Falters on Press freedoms

Posted by chinaview on November 4, 2007


Preface of special report Falling Short – As the 2008 Olympics Approach, China Falters on Press freedoms, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), August 7, 2007-

China jails journalists, imposes vast censorship, and allows harassment, attacks, and threats to occur with impunity. It needs to do much more to meet its promises to the world.

Preface

Despite explosive economic growth and more Internet users than any country besides the United States, China remains backward in allowing its people access to news. Deep concern about China’s lack of press freedom and scant regard for the rights of journalists prompted the Committee to Protect Journalists to write this report as China prepares to host the 2008 Olympic Games.

Just one year before the world’s finest athletes fill Beijing, China is holding at least 29 reporters and editors behind bars because of their work. Most are imprisoned on vague security-related charges such as revealing state secrets or inciting subversion of state power. Relying on such catchall accusations, China has led the world in the number of jailed journalists since 1999.

Despite knowing this record, the International Olympic Committee in 2001 awarded the August 2008 Games to China. The negotiations and agreement between China and the IOC have not been made public, but both sides assured skeptics that all journalists would have unrestricted freedom to cover the Games. More broadly, the scenario put forward by friends of the IOC and of the Chinese government was that, buoyed by Olympic ideals, China would grow away from its insistence on tight government control of the flow of information and its harsh punishment of those who dare to work outside that system. Under this scenario, the media, unfettered for the Games, would continue to be freer after the world’s attention moved on.

That broad opening has not happened, although China lifted some restrictions on foreign journalists in January 2007. In fact, since the Games were awarded, media restrictions ordered by the government and the Communist Party have grown. Censors still issue day-to-day “guidance” on exactly what can be reported in print, on the air, and on the Internet in all its manifestations—Web sites, blogs, message boards, discussion groups, and even instant messaging and texting. Prolonged detentions and closed-door trials of journalists have continued as well.

That China so far has failed to fulfill its pledges on press freedom is not news to local reporters. But visiting journalists, caught up in the media machine of the world’s premier sporting event, may not be fully aware of the restrictions and pressures placed on their Chinese colleagues. Unless things change, and soon, reporters who venture beyond the Olympic Village should be prepared to work in an environment where official interference and detentions of journalists are common and sources are at risk.

Journalists in China and around the world hope that the world’s most populous nation will match its great economic and technical advances by taking similar strides toward a freer media. It would be a splendid way to honor the Games.

Paul E. Steiger
Chairman, Committee to Protect Journalists

- Original report from CPJ.org :

Falling Short – As the 2008 Olympics Approach, China Falters on Press freedoms

Read the report on line

Download the report from CPJ (.pdf)

 

Posted in Beijing Olympics, China, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Journalist, Media, News, People, Politics, Press freedom, Report, Social, Speech, Sports, World | Comments Off

 
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