Journalists and Human Rights Activists Warned to Remain Silent in China

 The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is concerned about several violations of freedom of expression that have occurred since the National People’s Congress (NPC) and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) were held in Beijing from March 1.

Human rights lawyer and university lecturer Teng Biao was released on the afternoon of March 8 after being detained without notice and questioned by Beijing Public Security Bureau officials for 41 hours.  

Teng was questioned about articles he had written and the content of interviews with journalists. Teng said he could not speak further because officials had warned him not to do so.

"I was taken in by Beijing Public Security at 8.40 on Thursday (night) and then I was taken home by them at 1.40 this afternoon," Teng said. ”That's all I can say now. It wouldn't be convenient to say more."

Teng disappeared on March 6. His wife, Wang Ling, discovered Teng’s empty car near their apartment after hearing shouting nearby. Witnesses told her they saw several people force a man into a black car and speed off.

Another recent violation of freedom of expression concerns the secretary of the former Chinese Communist Party Central Committee, Bao Tong. Bao served seven years in prison and has been under tight surveillance following his release in 1996. He was advised not to give interviews to foreign journalists.

Bao organised two interviews with foreign journalists before the opening of the NPC in early March. He was contacted by authorities and again advised to refuse interviews to foreign journalists while the NPC and CPPCC were being held. Bao told the authorities he had abided by new regulations introduced by the Central authorities before the 2008 Olympic Games. Due to coercion by the authorities, Bao was able to participate in only one of the interviews.

A third case is of Guangdong writer Liao Zu-sheng, who was forced to leave Beijing when he was intercepted by police at Tiananmen Square on March 7. Liao is considering filing a complaint to the Beijing Public Security Bureau.

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries