Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is deeply frustrated by reports that another
prominent investigative journalist has been forced to resign after reporting on
a failure of process in the judicial system in Shanghai.
Yang Haipeng, an
investigative journalist for Shanghai’s
Caijing magazine, was forced to
resign on October 13, a week before his wife was sentenced to four years
imprisonment for corruption.
resignation follows the dismissal in August of
Zhong, the president of Nan Feng Chuang (NFC) magazine, for being
"unable to correctly censor the magazine's
articles and for taking things in the wrong political direction”. Other
publications, including Jinghuaand Great
Wall Magazine, have also recently been stripped of their investigative
functions by Chinese authorities in recent months.
According a report from the
World Journal on November 15, Yang
signed his termination letter in response to a meeting with the editor-in-chief
of Caijing. It is alleged that the
meeting took place a week before the sentencing date of Yang’s wife, and sought
Yang’s commitment to remain silent on the case.
The report suggests that
Yang’s forced resignation was likely the result of pressure placed on Caijing by the government of Shanghai. Yang had reportedly
upset Shanghai government officials by
publicising an apparent injustice in proceedings of Shanghai’s Minhang District People’s Court. In
a report on Yang’s microblog he claimed that the judge of the court had brought
a guilty verdict against his wife, without hearing evidence from the alleged
recipient of the bribe.
Yang graduated in law and
trained as a judge before joining the media industry. In his reporting he has uncovered
numerous cases of malpractice by local government officials.
“It is quite common for
authorities to arbitrarily conduct indirect retaliation against people it sees
as a threat,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director
Jacqueline Park said.
“Although we are not
surprised at such actions, we are disappointed that it appears the hands of
media employers were tied, not only by government regulatory bodies but also by
external political forces.”
The IFJ urges the General
Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP), and the All-China Journalists’
Association, to establish an individual investigative group, including
independent third parties, to investigate Yang’s case and determine whether there
has been any undue interference by the government into the operations of the
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