Jail term for Chinese journalist “excessive and unreasonable”, says IFJ

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has condemned the sentencing of journalist Yang Xiaoqing to one year in jail for extortion.

“A one-year jail sentence is an excessive and unreasonable punishment, and the IFJ urges the courts to seriously consider any appeal Yang makes to revoke this harsh penalty,” IFJ president Christopher Warren said.

The people’s court of Longhui in Hunan convicted Yang of extortion for allegedly trying to extract 800,000 Yuan (approximately 81,000 euros) from company officials in return for not covering a story on corruption.

In the year leading up to his arrest on January 22, 2006, Yang’s articles focused on mismanagement and corruption in Longhui, and just prior to his arrest Yang had published two newspaper reports accusing Longhui county-officials of the sale of a state-owned company to private individuals at a great profit.

Yang was the Longhui correspondent for Zhongguo Chanjing Xinwenbao, (China Industrial Economy News) and contributor to Xianggang Shangbao (Hong Kong Commerce Daily).

“The IFJ is appalled by this terrible degradation of press freedom. Further charges akin to this must not be tolerated,” said.

For more information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0919

The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in 110 countries worldwide