IFJ Calls on China to Live Up to Promise of Freedom of Expression

 

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is

dismayed to learn that several writers

and human rights activists were detained or harassed by authorities in China after

they signed a joint statement calling on the National People’s Congress

Standing Committee to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political

Rights (ICCPR).

 

The statement, issued on the 60th

anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, also

launched Charter 08, which demands bold political reforms that promote human

rights and democracy and articulate the principles for a platform of citizens’

actions.

 

On

December 8, writers Liu Xiaobo and Zhang Zuhua were interrogated by officials

of the Beijing Public Security Bureau and the Ministry of State Security after

they signed Charter 08. The IFJ is informed that Liu is still detained.

 

Police

ransacked Zhang’s house. Some of his belongings, including computers, notebooks

and passbooks were confiscated.

 

Wen

Kejian, Chen Xi, Shen Younian and Du Heping, who are writers and human rights

activists, were detained and questioned separately by police in Guizhou and Hangzhou.

They were warned the assembly of the Fourth Guizhou Citizens’ Forum on Human

Rights on December 10 was “illegal”.

 

“The IFJ calls on authorities in China to abide by the principles of China’s Constitution and end the harassment of those

who seek to express their views, including writers detained because they called

for ICCPR ratification and reforms to support human rights in China,” IFJ

General Secretary Aidan White said.

 

“As a

signatory to the ICCPR, China

needs to ratify its commitment to the Convention’s principles, including freedom

of expression. Ratification would bring China’s position in line with its

own Constitution, which enshrines freedom of expression as a right.

 

“The IFJ urges

the National People’s Congress Standing Committee to ratify the ICCPR and

support the Charter 08.”

 

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919

 

The IFJ

represents over 600,000 journalists in

120 countries worldwide