China's List of Bans on Media Reporting Keeps Growing

The International Federation

of Journalists (IFJ) calls on China’s

Government to explain why reporting on the forced closure of a research centre

and human rights organisation was banned on July 17.


A journalist told the IFJ they received the ban order on July 17. The

order stated that no media was permitted to publish any information about the

closure of Gongmeng Legal Research Centre, also known as the Open Constitution

Initiative, by the Civil Affairs Bureau of Beijing.


The centre,

run mainly by human rights lawyers, had been providing legal support to

minority groups in China,

most famously during the 2008 tainted milk powder scandal. Officers reportedly

searched the centre’s premises and seized documents and computers, reportedly on

the basis of an alleged tax error.


Dr Xu

Zhiyong, a legal representative for the centre, said the bureau had no legal

right to force the closure of the organisation or impose a penalty of 1.42

million yuan (about USD 210,000) for the alleged mistake.



media coverage of a story that has great public interest and involves the work

of government bureaus is contrary to encouraging greater freedoms of

expression, association and of the press in an open and transparent society,”

IFJ General Secretary Aidan White



In a

separate incident on July 18, a popular intellectual website called Tian Yi

forum,, was shut down by authorities without explanation.


On July

17, two other websites, and, were reportedly ordered to delete

news reports about the suspicious death in hospital of a woman in Mawei District, Fujian

Province. The reports were alleged to contravene official bans on media

reporting of certain issues.



has yet to prove that it will allow and encourage its media to act as a

watchdog for the public good. Government-instigated tailoring of online news

content amounts to propaganda and repression of free expression,” White said.


For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919



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