Heavy Security Clamps Down on Free Movement in China


The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns

the latest efforts of security officials in China to restrict the movement of

journalists, academics and bloggers on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen

Square massacre on June 4.


Zeng Jinyan, a blogger and the wife of imprisoned human

rights defender Hu Jia, and her young daughter were prevented from leaving

their house by several security bureau officers on June 3, despite Zeng telling

them she intended to collect a cake for her mother’s birthday, a blogger told

the IFJ.


Zeng has been under house arrest and constant security

surveillance since Hu’s detention on December 27, 2007. Hu was convicted on

April 4, 2008, of “inciting subversion of state power” for publicly expressing

concern about human rights abuses in China and agreeing to be

interviewed by an overseas online news site. He was jailed for three-and-a-half



The IFJ also received reports that security officers had blocked

the movement of as many as 50 people listed as signatories to the pro-democracy

petition Charter 08, which was published on December 10, 2008, and calls for

political and democratic reform in China, including assurance of the

right to freedom of expression.


One signatory told the IFJ the group was instructed in late

May by security personnel to remain in their houses and not to talk to

journalists or visitors. Otherwise they would be removed from Beijing.


“We believe

those demands were related to the June 4 Tiananmen Square massacre,” one of the signatories said. “We are

furious at what the security bureau did. They

are depriving us of our constitutional rights which

clearly state that citizens of China have the right to freedom of movement and expression.”


A blogger

told the IFJ that he had planned

to visit Hong Kong on May 31 in order to attend a June 4 anniversary

march,but a

security officer prevented him from leaving mainland China at the border. He

said the officer did not give him any explanation.


“I was

really surprised they knew my plan because I had only told my family and a friend

of mine,he



A former online

manager of a China-based website told the IFJ that the social networking websites Twitter and flickr had been blocked by authorities since June 2 without

warning or explanation. “The situation this year is even

worse than the year of 2008,

he said.


“Restricting the right of people to express their views and to talk with

journalists breaks the promise made by authorities in China to permit and promote greater

openness and freedom of expression,” IFJ General Secretary Aidan White said.


“Clearly, Charter 08, which calls for freedom of expression among other

rights, has touched a nerve. The continuing efforts of authorities to shut down

all discussion about important issues violate the fundamental rights which the

Charter seeks for the people of China.”


For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919



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