Chinese Authorities Ban Reporting of Train Crash Anniversary


The International Federation of

Journalists (IFJ) is deeply frustrated by reports that China’s Central

Propaganda Department has blocked all media reporting of the anniversary of

2011’s deadly high-speed train crash in Wenzhou, in China’s eastern Zhejiang



On the evening of July 23, 2011, two

high-speed bulletin trains collided in Wenzhou, killing

40 people and injuring at least 192 others. During the rescue, government officials

quickly ordered the burial of the train the wreckage, drawing criticism from

the public for their attempts to cover-up the incident.


Only state-owned

media organisations, including Xinhua news agency and China Central Television,

were allowed to attend a press conference to interview Railway Ministry

officials, with other organisations blocked

from attending. The Railway Ministry also contacted media organisations and

pressured them to ask journalists to leave the scene of the accident. On July

30, 2011, the Beijing Propaganda Department issued an order to all local media forbidding

independent reporting of the crash. At least two China Central Television media personnel were

reportedly punished for criticising the rescue efforts in their programmes.


The IFJ has

learned that a similar directive has been given to local reporters this year,

forbidding all independent reporting of the anniversary of the Wenzhou train




quite a number of newspapers have already ordered their staff to ignore the

anniversary”, one local journalist said. “But, despite this, many journalists refuse

to forget the disaster”.   


““Directives to restrict reporting on

the Wenzhou rail disaster anniversary are denying the public their right to be

informed about issues related to public safety, and engage in public debate

about reform and improvement of the rail system,” IFJ Asia-Pacific said.


“The IFJ urges China’s Premier Wen Jiabao

to swiftly investigate the new restrictions on the media, and uphold his

assertion that the people have the right to have oversight of the performance

of their government.”


For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333




represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries


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