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.
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.
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.
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.”
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
authority recording the ‘interview’ was aimed at undermining the credibility of the news report”, Mak Yin-ting, Chairperson of the HKJA
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.”
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.
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.
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
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.
further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0915
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