31 janvier 2010
IFJ Report Lists China’s Secret Bans on Media Reporting
A new report by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) on press freedom in China highlights the battle by local censors to control media commentary on a wide range of topics throughout in 2009.
Banned topics range from events associated with social unrest and public protests against authorities, to reports of photos of an actress topless on a Caribbean beach.
The report, China Clings to Control: Press Freedom in 2009, was officially released by the IFJ at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong yesterday 31 January.
It presents data gathered by IFJ media rights monitoring in China, detailing the intensifying efforts of authorities since early 2009 to control online content and commentary, and assessing the official restrictions and range of impediments faced by local and foreign media working in Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.
Amid the controversy over Google’s recently stated refusal to censor the contents of its Chinese-language search engine, following allegations that China’s authorities had authorised a cyber attack on Google’s US-based systems, and gmail accounts held by activists in China had been breached, China Clings to Control: Press Freedom in 2009 presents the wider context of restrictions confronting journalists and media in China.
In calling on China to investigate Google’s allegations, United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says US companies need to take a “principled stand” against censorship.
“The IFJ fully endorses Mrs Clinton’s comments,” IFJ General Secretary Aidan White said.
“We further call on the international community to take a principled stand to oppose all forms of restrictions on the rights of journalists to do their work in China, including the steady stream of official bans as well as new rules in 2009 which make it virtually impossible for local journalists who work in traditional or online media to receive the accreditation they need in order to conduct their profession.”
The IFJ report details 62 bans issued from January to November 2009, among hundreds of regulations issued by central and provincial authorities in the past year.
Compiled with the assistance of Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD), the list below is not complete because of difficulties in obtaining information in China about instructions to the media.
“The IFJ list indicates that much as China’s censors are maintaining a vigilant eye, they are also struggling to maintain a grip on information dissemination,” White said.
The IFJ report is available in English, Simplified and Traditional Chinese at:
For media inquiries: Contact Serenade Woo at +852-9145-9145
Media-Related Orders in China, 2009
From: China Clings to Control: Press Freedom in 2009
The number on each item indicates the date the order was issued.
105: Media must not report on the reformation of fuel tax.
110: Media must cease reporting on the discovery of a body at a psychiatric hospital in Dongguan.
122: Media must use Xinhua News Agency reports about the court verdict in the Sanlu tainted milk powder case. No commentary or investigative reporting permitted.
130: Media must not report on photos of actress Zhang Ziyi topless on a Caribbean beach.
211: Media must not be sent to report on the earthquake zone in Sichuan province.
220: Media including internet-based outlets must not republish a February 17 report on a company found guilty of defaming a reporter who reported a miscarriage of justice case in 2005.
223: Media must be reminded that reporting spontaneous news from other provinces is prohibited.
224: Media must not be sent to Shanxi province to cover a gas explosion.
228: Media must not be sent to Shandong or Henan provinces to cover a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak.
Date unknown: Media must not report on the election of Macau Chief Executive.
306: Media must not report on the sacking of former Communist Party chief and deputy director of the Shenzhen Maritime Safety Administration, Lin Jiaxiang, who was sacked for alleged drunken behaviour and child molestation.
307: Media must not report on comments by members of the National People’s Congress about a possible ban by China on poultry imports from the US.
309: Media must not report on a decision by the Supreme People’s Court to review a four-year-old plagiarism case against Wuhan University law professor Zhou Yezhong.
313: The 21st Century Business Herald must remove an article about financial dealings between tycoon Wang Guoju and Hong Kong-listed company China Energy Development Holdings Ltd.
318: Media must not report on the failure of a team led by Liaoning Governor to attract investments by overseas entrepreneurs in China.
324: Media must use official information to report on the fatal shooting of a guard in front of an army station branch in Chongqing.
325: Media must use official information to report on the signing of an oil channel agreement between China and Burma. No reporting on the background of the agreement or feature writing permitted.
327: Media must not report on a lawsuit against China Eastern Airline by victims of a plane crash in 2004 in which 53 passengers were killed.
410: Media must not report on the welfare, injury or death of prison inmates unless the information is sourced from the Prison Bureau.
413: The State Administrative of Radio Film and Television prohibits entertainment programs from publishing or discussing celebrity love affairs or scandalous material.
414: All media including internet-based outlets must report positively on a book called China Unhappy. No commentary or billboard rankings about the book allowed.
417: Media must cease reporting on the connection between a high incidence of miscarriages in pregnant women in Dujiangyan City and formaldehyde exposure.
419: Media must not report on issues related to the parents of children killed during the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. Media must only report the list of victims announced by officials. Media must not conduct independent investigative reporting about the number of victims. Media must not publish subjective conclusions about the reasons why buildings collapsed during the earthquake. Media must use official information about the reconstruction of the quake zone. Problems during the reconstruction must be reported to the authorities and must not be published.
420: Media must not report on a dispute relating to a cross-province railway extension between Shanghai and Yunnan.
422: Media must cease reporting on the suicide of propaganda department vice director in Beichuan, Sichuan.
428: Media must report positively on the reform of the Health Medical Policy of the Health Department. Media should only interview experts recommended by the authorities and should be careful of other experts’ comments.
Date unknown: Media must not report on former Premier Zhao Ziyang’s memoirs.
502: Media must not publish commentary about the May Fourth Movement.
507: Media must use Foreign Ministry information about the interception by the US navy of a Chinese fishing vessel. Media must not publish commentary or use information sourced from overseas.
522: Media must use Xinhua News Agency information and reports about a visit by US senators to China.
525: Media must use Xinhua News Agency information to report on nuclear testing in North Korea. Articles about the issue should not be placed in a prominent place.
526: Media must not report on a murder case in Badong. All journalists should leave Badong immediately.
529: Media must not be sent to Badong. Media must use Xinhua News Agency information about the Badong case. Media must not report on conflict between journalists and local government officials.
530: Media must not report on pollution in Jiaozuo, Henan.
608: Media must only use information from the Xinhua News Agency website, the China Daily and CCTV to report on investigations of Shenzhen Mayor Xu Zongheng.
610: Media must report positively on the Green Dam project. Media can organise interviews with some experts and parents about filters for pornographic material under this project. No commentary allowed. Website management must delete all critical articles about the project.
619: Media must report the Iran election in a low-key fashion without commentary. Do not place prominently.
626: Media must use official information to report on an ethnic-based violent incident in Shaoguan. Media must not be sent to Shaoguan to report on the incident.
627: Media must not be sent to Shaoguan. Any articles written must be low-key and not placed prominently.
628: Xinhua News Agency and Southern.cn will report the cause of the Shaoguan incident. Other media must not republish this information.
629: Only Southern.cn website in Shaoguan is permitted to report the investigation report of the Shaoguan conflict. Other media must not republish this information.
706: Media must use only Xinhua News Agency information to report on riots in Xinjiang and Shaoguan. No journalist should be sent to Xinjiang.
708: Media must not report on a lawsuit brought by an academic against a Xinnet.com website.
711: Media must only report the number of people killed in Xinjiang. Media must not report on the cause of the ethnic-based conflict. Media must use Xinhua News Agency information only or will face punishment from the Central Propaganda Department.
715: Media must use only Xinhua News Agency information about the cause of train collision in Zhenzhou, Hunan Province, on June 29.
721: Media must not report on corruption allegations relating to the eldest son of President Hu Jintao.
728: Media must use Xinhua News Agency information to report on the death of a factory general manager in Jilin after a protest by factory employees. Media must not be sent to Jilin and all journalists must be instructed to leave the vicinity.
805: Xinhua News Agency website will report on the investigation into the secretary of the Communist Party of China National Nuclear Corporation. Other media must not republish or broadcast this information.
814: Media must not report on issues related to Gongmeng Legal Research Centre legal representative Dr Xu Zhiyong.
815: Media must not report any unconfirmed information about terrorist organisations’ attack on China in relation to the Xinjiang riots. Media must not republish China Daily’s report about 200 Xinjiang riot suspects pending to trial.
820: Articles about conflict between Russia and China in relation to business must be censored before publication. Media must reduce the number of articles about this case.
825: Media must delay reporting about alleged bribery between the US-based CII company and a state-owned company.
828: Media must not report on organ transplants at Sun Yatsen University.
830: Media must use Xinhua News Agency information to report on the arrival of up to 30,000 Burmese refugees in Konkan in south-western Yunan province. All reporters must leave Konkan.
831: Media must use official information to report about the arrival of Burmese refugees to Yunan. All journalists must leave Yunan.
Date unknown: Media must not report on a riot of more than 10,000 villagers in Fengwei town, Quanzhou, Fujian, which was sparked by industrial contamination of drinking water.
Date unknown: Media must use Xinhua News Agency information about the visit by Tibet spiritual leader the Dalai Lama to Taiwan.
Date unknown: More than 10 orders were made: some orders prohibited the media from reporting at Tiananmen Square and other public venues in the lead-up to National Day on October 1.
Date unknown: Media must delete all images of President Hu in front of a billboard advertising the Japan-based company Toshiba during China’s National Day Parade on October 1.
Date unknown: Media must not report about elections of the Legislative Council and Chief Executive of Hong Kong.
1116: Media must use Xinhua News Agency information to report on US President Obama’s visit to China. Media must delete any news or other articles referring to questions at a forum at the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum. Journalists are forbidden from organising questions to be relayed over the internet and put to Obama. Media must not report on or publish reports of protests or spontaneous news during Obama’s visit.
Date unknown: Only the magazine of Southern Metropolis enterprise is allowed to report interviews with Obama. Other media must not republish these interviews.
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 125 countries worldwide