Press Freedom in China Bulletin: September

Welcome to IFJ Asia-Pacific’s monthly Press Freedom in China Campaign e-bulletin. The next bulletin will be sent on October8, 2016.

To contribute news or information, email ifj@ifj-asia.org. To visit the IFJ’s China Campaign page, go to http://www.ifj.org/regions/asia-pacific/

View the IFJ media violations in China map here.

Follow the IFJ on Facebook here.

Follow the IFJ on Twitter here.

Please distribute this bulletin widely among colleagues in the media.

For the simplified Chinese version click here

For the traditional Chinese version click here

In this bulletin:

1)    Gao Yu under house arrest

2)    Camera person attacked covering factory fire

3)    Online crackdown continues: reports taken offline

4)    Newly elected legislative councillor receives deaths threats

5)    Hong Kong media attacked during election coverage

6)    News agency threatened following reports on faulty trains

7)    SCMP shuts down it’s Chinese channel

8)    DBC shuts down and lays off hundreds of staff

9)    US journalists blocked from filming US President during G20

 

1)    Gao Yu under house arrest

Prominent Chinese journalist, Gao Yu, was barred from joining a banquet on 17 August 2016. According to Gao’s micro blog, she was under house arrest for three days when she tried to join a banquet organised by several prominent liberal scholars including Pao Tong, former secretary of Zhao Ziyang, former Premier of China, and human rights lawyer, Pu Zhiqiang. She disclosed that Pao was also barred from attending the banquet by several national security agents.  

2)    Cameraperson attacked covering factory fire

On 10 August, Qian Yunfei, a camera operator of Shandong Radio and Television, was attacked by several people when he was reporting on a factory fire at Grad Group in Dezhou, Shandong Province. In several reports, Qian said he was beaten up by several people, some of which were wearing police uniforms. During the scuffle, his camera and mobile phone were stolen. He was hospitalised with three broken ribs. Local police said three suspects had been detained but denied that police were involved in the assault.

3)    Online crackdown continues: reports taken offline

a)    Wei Gansu, an online media platform, was criticised for reporting that a whole family was found dead due to impoverishment. On 8 September, the report said a family of six was found dead between August 24 and September 4. On 24 August, the mother of four killed herself and her four children aged from three to seven in their house in a remote village in Gansu. When the father returned home on 2 September, he buried his wife and four children but did not report it to the police. On 4 September, his body was found in the woods. Police told the media that the family was killed in a murder/suicide on September 8. In the report, it said that the whole family and their senior were living in a very tattered house. However the report was taken down from the website without explanation. According to several foreign media reports, the relatives of the family were warned by police that they should not speak to the media.

b)    Jiemian, an online media platform, removed a report from their website on 19 August which featured an interview with Jasper Tsang Yok-Sing, former Chairperson of Hong Kong Legislative Council. In the report, Tsang admitted that he disagreed with the political decision made by Leung Chun-Ying, current Chief Executive of Hong Kong. He also said that he is willing to run for the next term of Chief Executive in 2017 if nobody else is willing to run for it. Tsang is the founding Chairperson of Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong, pro-Beijing political party in Hong Kong.

4)    Newly elected legislative councillor receives deaths threats

Eddie Chu Hoi-Dick was elected to the Hong Kong Legislative Council in the September 4 elections. Following his election, the citizen journalist allegedly received death threats on September 8. Prior to his election, Chu was working as a citizen journalist, environmental activist and a research assistant of a university of Hong Kong and is a vocal critic of corruption and the Hong Kong government’s ‘backflip’ on the public housing commission. Chu said he had been receiving threats since May, and on September 3 and 4 he was followed by an unknown car. He also received a call from someone who claimed they were the head of Yuen Long village who threatened to attack him after the election. In the election, he won more than 84 thousand vote in New Territories West”. Chu said the threats escalated after the election, and he received threats that specifically mentioned the kindergarten his daughter attends. Police have already offered their protection, however he and his family are unable to stay in their home or attend work or school. Chu said, “I will protect my freedom to express my political view and I will not succumb, and I will honour all my promises to my voters.” In 2012, Inmedia, an independent online media platform/organisation, received attacked by four masked men in their office. In that time, Chu was the working there.

5)    Hong Kong media attacked during election coverage

Two journalists of Ming Pao Daily newspaper were harassed and attacked when they tried to report on an alleged corruption scandal involving a candidate for the Legislative Council elections. When they arrived at the restaurant, they were blocked by members of a police supportive group. When the photographer used his cell phone to record the scene, one of the group yelled at him and snatched away his cell phone. At the same time, the photographer was attacked leaving him with head injuries and broken glasses. The other journalist had several lacerations on her arm. Ming Pao Daily Newspaper, Ming Pao Staff Association and Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) condemned the brutal act. Police investigated the case immediately afterwards.

6)    A news agency threatened following reports on faulty trains

On August 17, Fact Wire, a newly established HK news agency, reported that they had received threats on July 21 and 26 after they reported on a faulty train in Singapore. Fact Wire said they had received an anonymous online message saying, “somebody will give (you) trouble” because they “had already caused a tremendous” after they reported that China had originally manufactured the defective train and sold it to Singapore. On July 26, Fact Wire said an unidentified man loitered outside the office and then they found strange markings on the building walls.

7)    SCMP shuts down it’s Chinese channel

On September 9, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) suddenly announced that it’s Chinese channel would be shut down due to consolidation of resources. According to Apple Daily, an anonymous source from SCMP admitted that the SCMP weibo account had been shut down because they reported on the Lee Bo case,(in which 5 people went missing at the Causeway Bay Bookstore). The anonymous source said, “They have been challenging the bottom line of Chinese Communist Party”. The Chinese channel retained at least four staff.  

8)    DBC shut down and laid off hundreds of staff

On September 7, the Digital Broadcasting Corporation (DBC) in China ceased production and broadcast of all programmes and laid off 77 staff. The remaining 36 staff will be laid off in the following two months. In August, DBC announced that it would shut down because of a lack of financial support from the Hong Kong Government.  

9)    US journalists blocked from filming US President during G20

On September 4, several US journalists had a heated argument with Chinese officials when they attempted to film US President Barack Obama at the G20 Hangzhou Summit. The journalists argued that they had not been blocked from filming the US President in any other country.

IFJ Asia-Pacific         
http://www.ifj.org/regions/asia-pacific/

Ifj@ifj-asia.org