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China: Alarming trend of violence against journalists (3)

Posted by Author on August 26, 2010

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Censorship favouring companies

Here are some other recent cases in which the authorities have protected companies and businessmen at the expense of media freedom:

Tang Jun’s spurious doctorate claim The Propaganda Bureau in Beijing banned the media on 12 July from repeating allegations that Tang Jun, one of the former CEO of Microsoft’s operations in China, had not obtained the US university doctorate listed in his résumé. The allegations caused a major stir online and led journalists to check the authenticity of the diplomas claimed by other prominent Chinese figures.

The magazine Business Watch and the state power company Grid Corp The magazine Business Watch was suspended for a month in early May over an article it had published in March about the state power company Grid Corp. The authorities did not like the magazine’s user of internal company documents for the story.

Explosion in a Nanjing factory When there was an explosion at a Nanjing factory with a toll of 300 injured and 10 missing on 28 July, a Jiangsu TV crew went there and began broadcasting reports until an official intervened and told them to stop, threatening them with “serious problems” if they did not. The footage that had already been broadcast was then removed from the Internet.

Attack on Zhongguo Shibao reporter When Chen Xiaoying, a reporter for the newspaper Zhongguo Shibao (China Times), arrived at the place in Shenzhen where she was supposed to meet an anonymous source on 29 July, a man punched her hard in the face several times. She had gone there because she had been told she would be given information about the Shenzhen International Enterprise Co., a company she had already written about on 8 July. Chen thinks the attack was linked to that story, in which she suggested that the company’s CEO was involved in illegal activity. The CEO had told her after its publication that: “This kind of story will not be good for you.” The company denied any role in the assault.

Exemplary support for Qiu Ziming

Cases of this kind can sometimes have a happy ending. Economic Observer reporter Qiu Ziming went into hiding in July after being placed on a list of most wanted criminals by the police in the eastern province of Zhejiang, for allegedly defaming Kan Specialties Material Corporation, a Suichang-based company that is one of China’s biggest battery manufacturers. The Zhejiang authorities finally rescinded the warrant for his arrest on 29 July after he won a great deal of support online thanks to his blog, in which he said he stood by the allegations of improper practices that he had levelled against the company.

These cases show that more and more journalists are testing the limits of press freedom in China. But, with increasing frequency, they are running up against solid resistance from the government and both state and private-sector companies.

– from the Reporters Without Borders

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