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
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
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
“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
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +61 2 9333 0919
represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries
IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific
IFJ on Facebook here