IFJ Condemns Imprisonment and Illegal Interrogation of Journalists in China

 

The

International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the Hong Kong

Journalists Association in strongly condemning the false imprisonment and

harassment of two Hong Kong-based journalists in Daxiang

District , Shaoyang City, in China’s eastern Hunan province as they investigated

the suspicious death of a Chinese activist.

 

On

September 12, Hong Kong-based newspaper Ming

Pao reported that two of its journalists were harassed and falsely

imprisoned in a hotel for 44 hours, and held under the surveillance of the local security bureau without explanation. The pair were detained

once the security bureau discovered that the journalists were investigating the

suspicious death of Chinese activist Li Wangyang.

 

It

is alleged that at least ten security agents pulled the journalists by the hair

into a police car, and took them to a second location to be detained.

 

During the detention, authorities deprived the journalists

of sleep over a period of two days and interrogated them as to the purpose of

their trip. Security officers also confiscated the

journalists’ phones, computers, cameras and audio recorders, deleting all

material on them. They are also alleged to have forced the journalists to

reveal the passwords to their email accounts and checked all of their mails and

phone calls. One

of the journalists was also threatened that his return to Hong

Kong might be prevented, if he did not cooperate.

 

“Under

heavy surveillance and denied the right to call my family or supervisor, I was

placed under tremendous pressure,” one of the journalists said. “Our driver and

a human rights lawyer, Tang Jingling, who helped us were also detained by security

officers from one day to six days respectively.” 

 

Local

authorities also reportedly arranged an interview for journalists and forced

three interviewees with knowledge of Li’s case to accept the interview given

under duress, which was recorded by the local propaganda

department.

 

“The

authority recording the ‘interview’ was aimed at undermining the credibility of the news report”, Mak Yin-ting, Chairperson of the HKJA

said.

 

Kevin Lau, the Editor-in-Chief of Ming Pao also condemns the security authority’s

abuse of power in a public statement, It is quite rare

for government to stage an interview for the benefit of the media. The

detaining and interrogation of journalists clearly jeopardizes press freedom

and infringes upon journalists’ safety.”

 

The

IFJ urges Peng Qinghua, Director of the Chinese Liaison Office of Hong Kong to

file a complaint with the Hunan Security Bureau of China and demand the

Government of Hunan make an official apology to journalists, and commit to ensuring

the safety and rights of Hong Kong journalists

when travelling and working in the Mainland.

 

We

also urge Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao demand the Security

Bureau of China and the Government of Henan thoroughly investigate this case

and publicly report its findings.

 

 

On

June 6, IFJ reported that blind activist Li Wangyang, 62,was found dead in

Daxiang District people’s hospital in Shaoyang City, Hunan province, China,

after he accepted a interview with Hong Kong Cable Television, which aired June

2. Since this time, many media personnel, interview subjects and Hong Kong activists have been harassed, followed or detained by

security officers in Shaoyang

City. Shaoyang

authorities deny the claims. According to Article 6 of China’s Regulations on Reporting Activities in

Mainland by Hong Kong and Macau journalists,

journalists can only conductinterviews when an

interviewee gives consent. 

   

For

further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0915 

 

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131

countries

 

Find the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific

 

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