Veteran freelance journalist Chen Jieren and his wife were reportedly detained and taken into police custody from their home in Hunan province on Thursday, July 5, 2018. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has called for the immediate and unconditional release of Chen and his wife.
According to media reports, Chen and his wife were detained from their house on Thursday. On Friday, the authority of Hunan released a statement accusing Chen of being involved in ‘fraud’ and running and an ‘illegal business’. According to RFA, a number of local journalists were advised verbally from their local propaganda department that Chen was being investigated for fraud and running an illegal business. They were also told not to ‘carry out interviews, write articles or show any interest in the case’.
On June 25, he also lodged a complaint against the Communist Party secretary of Shaoyang city in Hunan, over wrongdoing. In an article authored on July 2, Chen questioned the Communist Party Standing Committee secretary general in Hunan over an inaccurate academic record. The local state owned media published an article in retaliation, attacking Chen of ‘using a supervisory role’ as an excuse to make his own profit.
Chen is a well-respected freelance journalist, having graduated from the Tsinghua University Law School. He’s worked at several national newspapers including the People’s Daily, China Youth Daily and the Southern Weekend. Chen has regularly advocated for the ‘supervisory role’ of the media, which has seen him lose three jobs as a result. However he has continued to remind peers of their role as journalists, but to ensure not to violate laws.
The IFJ said: “The detention of Chen Jieren is retaliation for his critical articles regarding the Communist Party leadership in Hunan. The use of such tactics is well-known and reported in China, and shows the extent to which the Communist Party will go to punish critical voices and dissent. We urge the Chinese authorities to immediately release Chen and his wife, and revoke to false allegations against him.”
The IFJ calls on the Central Authority of China to order a full investigation into Chen’s detention, and ensure a full report is prepared. Chen and his wife must also be released immediately and unconditionally.
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946
The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries
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