Chinese Journalist Removed for Voicing Food Safety Fears


International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) urges China’s national broadcaster, China Central Television

(CCTV), to explain the apparent disappearance of one of its journalists in

April 2012.


The IFJ has learned that Zhao Pu, 40,

a host of CCTV’s news bulletin program, was suspended from his position after forwarding

a message using his Weibo microblog

account which advised parents in China not to feed their children unsafe food

products on 9 April.


According to various Mainland Chinese

media reports, the message told parents not to give their children frozen yoghurt

or jelly. Zhao did not provide further reasons for forwarding the warning

except to state that “the inside story is awful”.


However, many believe that Zhao’s

comments were related to the recent food safety scandal, in which 53 people have

been arrested, and 10 industrial gelatin and capsule factories closed, on

suspicion they were manufacturing drug capsules with potentially toxic industrial



Subsequent media reports alleged that

a dairy company Beijing Sanyuan Food Company have used this gelatin in its food

products, but the company has denied

the accusation.


Zhao’s message was deleted the next

day, and from then he has been absent from his regular hosting position.


Online reports speculate that Zhao has

been suspended from his position with CCTV, as his comments violated CCTV’s

internal policies. CCTV has so far refused to respond to the accusation. Zhao

himself has also yet to comment on the report, although in a subsequent post on

Weibo he quoted a Chinese poem in which the author proclaims himself innocent

of causing harm to others.


Zhao is the first journalist known to

be punished for commenting on the contaminated drug capsule scandal.


“Food safety is an issue of great

public concern, and one on which the media has a duty to report” IFJ

Asia-Pacific said.


“It is alarming that Zhao would be

punished for comments made in his personal capacity that seek to alert the

community to a serious public health concern. CCTV must explain why he has been



The IFJ urges the CCTV to explained

Zhao’s disappearance, and provide a full explanation of which internal regulations

Zhao is alleged to have breached, if any.


We also call on the All Chinese

Journalists Association to investigate this case, and assess whether CCTV’s

punishment of Zhao for statements made in his own personal communications was




further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0950 



IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries


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