Censorship in China Risks Fueling Public Unrest


The International Federation of

Journalists (IFJ) is deeply concerned that ongoing media censorship in China could

amplify public dissatisfaction and spark further unrest, following the

so-called “jasmine” protests in the country.


The concerns come as the IFJ learned

of new incidents of unrest in the past month. One of the latest disturbances began

on June 10 in Guangzhou, where more than 1,000

people gathered on the street in Xintang, Zengcheng county, Guangdong

province on June 10, after a number of street vendors from Sichuan province were detained by security



State-owned news agency Global Times reported on June 13 that more

than 1000 people gathered outside Xintang police station on June 11.

Policemen were reportedly attacked and police cars damaged in the incident.

However, according to some video-sharing websites and blogs the police station

was set alight in the incident and the armed forces were ordered to rush into

the county to quell the protest. Reports said that the protests also spread to

other areas.



of Zengcheng Ye Niuping held a press conference to explain the incident on June 13,

saying the row was sparked by a number of people with “ulterior motives”, local

reports said. Ye did not further elaborate on the reasons behind the incident.

Local and Central propaganda departments ordered that media must only rely on

government reports, but media outlets only reported Ye’s

statements. Three

Guangzhou-based newspapers were ordered to print a “breaking” (special edition)

newspaper to help the local government to ease public tensions.


A similar incident of public unrest took

place on June 9 in

Lichuan city, Hubei

province, after former Communist Party secretary and Director of the Lichuan anti-corruption

department Ran Jianxin was found dead on June 4. Ran was under investigation by

the Badong Procuratorate for alleged corruption.


Following his death, Ran’s family

members immediately surrounded the department building in Badong

village where numbers quickly grew. More than 20,000 people surrounded the government

building and pelted rocks and garbage towards the armed police for five days,

until June 9. Reports said that many people were beaten by security officers with

electronic batons. People at the scene were afraid to express their view about

the incident when non-Mainland journalists asked questions.


An oblique reference to these

incidents was made by member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau

of the Communist Party of China and Central Committee and secretary of the CPC

Central Committee's Commission for Political and Legal Affairs Zhou Yongkang on

June 12. Zhou called on the country’s police to better serve the people when he

met the top 10 selected favourite police officers through a nationwide vote in Beijing, at a Communist

Party of China meeting to mark the 90th anniversary of the founding of

the party.


“China’s authorities must understand

that media censorship can work to inflame tensions, as people are suspicious of

the veracity of information,” the IFJ Asia-Pacific



“Depriving people of accurate and

up-to-date information about public unrest also risks placing members of the

public in harm’s way.”


The IFJ urges the authorities of China to

cease concealing the true picture of people’s concerns about the operations of

government, in order to prevent the triggering of further instability in the




For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +61 2 9333 0919



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