Another Chinese journalist detained in lead up to Tiananmen anniversary

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is concerned that a Chinese news assistant working for a Japanese news agency has been accused of “picking quarrels and stirring up trouble” and detained by police for two weeks.

Xin Jian, a Chinese news assistant for Nikkei Inc, the Japan Economic Times News Agency, was taken away from her home by Chongqing police on May 13. She was released on May 28, according to a message posted on her husband’s microblog.

According to a Radio Free Asia report, Xin was accused by police of “picking quarrels and stirring up trouble” on May 26, but the police did not produce any evidence to show how Xin had violated any law.

The report said the detention was believed to be related to the detention of a prominent human rights lawyer, Pu Zhiqiang. Pu was detained in early May after he attended a gathering in Beijing to commemorate the Tiananmen Square Massacre on June 4, 1989. Pu has also been accused by police of “picking quarrels and stirring up trouble”, but no evidence has been produced to support the charge.

The Foreign Correspondents Club of China (FCCC) is deeply concerned about the case of Xin Jiang. The FCCC said: “This would be a gross violation of Chinese government rules governing foreign correspondents, which expressly permit them to interview anybody who consents to be interviewed.”

Vivian Wu, another associate of Pu Zhiqiang is also believed to have been detained. No information is available regarding the whereabouts of Vivian Wu, a former journalist and a senior consultant to Internews, a non-governmental media training organization. Beijing Police have refused to confirm her detention.

The IFJ said: “It is absurd that police should casually accuse a journalist in such a way without providing any evidence to prove the charge. Journalists and news assistants are entitled to conduct any interview and carry out news gathering when the interviewee consents. This is clearly stated in the rules which were established by the State Council after the Olympics Games in 2008.

“It is unacceptable that the authorities are able to renege on these rules when they deem it necessary. The police actions in this case amount to suppression of press freedom.”

The IFJ demands that the Police Bureau of Chongqing offer a complete explanation of the accusation against Xin. We further demand that the Police Bureau of Beijing disclose what has and reasons behind Xin’s detention which has continued for more than two weeks.