China Blocks Reporting On Peace Prize For Liu Xiaobo

The International

Federation of Journalists (IFJ) welcomes the awarding of the 2010 Nobel Peace

Prize to writer and Charter 08 initiator Liu Xiaobo, currently jailed in north-eastern



However, the IFJ is concerned that

authorities in China

sought immediately to block any reporting by local and foreign media on the

award, announced on October 8.


Liu, a renowned scholar, was

sentenced to 11 years’ jail on December 25, 2009, accused of agitation to

subvert the Government.


He had previously been jailed four times

because of his articles about the 1989

Tiananmen Square Massacre and his urging of China’s

Government to move peacefully to democracy.


“China’s Constitution enshrines the

freedom of expression defended by Liu in his work, as well as the right of

media to report on his situation – including his detention and the awarding of

the peace prize to him,” IFJ General Secretary Aidan

White said.


“We urge China’s authorities to recognise

their own Constitution and not obstruct reporting on matters of public

interest, including Liu’s situation.


“In deference to China’s

Constitution, we call for the immediate unconditional release of Liu and other

journalists and writers unjustly jailed for exercising their constitutional

right to express their views freely.”


The Nobel Committee’s decision to

honour Liu irked authorities in China,

who condemned the award and issued a verbal order that no media was to publish

information about the award or create conditions for discussion about it.


Since October 8, China’s

Security Bureau has prevented local and foreign media from interviewing Liu’s

wife, Liu Xia, as well as other initiators of the pro-democracy Charter 08,

including Zhang Zuhua and Jiang Qisheng, who remain under heavy surveillance.


Security personnel in Jinzhou city, Liaoning

Province, where Liu is detained,

restricted Hong Kong media seeking to report

on a visit by Liu’s wife to see her husband at the weekend. They were ordered

to leave the prison premises, and not to take photos in or near the prison.


After meeting Liu at the prison on

October 10, Liu Xia was reportedly escorted back to Beijing and placed under house arrest, according

to news reports.


One local journalist said after the

ban was issued that “a few journalists were ‘invited’ to talk with

plain-clothes personnel of the Security Bureau. I don’t know why but I believe

the authorities are quite worried that some journalists are not loyal



The Nobel Committee also highlighted

China’s Constitution,

noting, “Article 35 of China’s constitution lays down that ‘Citizens of the

People’s Republic of China

enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of

procession and of demonstration.’ In practice, these freedoms have proved to be

distinctly curtailed for China’s



For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919



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