Blanket Bans Cloak Reports of Deaths, Protests and Explosions in China

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is deeply concerned

that the Central Propaganda Department in China has banned reports of protests and

explosions in different areas of China in recent



The first relates to the May 10 death of Mergen, an organiser of the

Mongolian herders of Right Ujimchin Banner in

Southern (Inner) Mongolia,

who was killed when he was part of a group attempting to block a coal hauling

truck heading into the herders’ grasslands at Ujimchin, in the

Inner Mongolia autonomous region. Southern

Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC) reported that Mergen’s body

was dragged under the wheels of the truck for 150 metres and then repeatedly

struck by other trucks in the incident.


The death promptly heightened local frustrations against mining

companies and their employees who are working in the Southern Mongolian

grasslands. Protests by locals began on May 23 and numbers at the demonstrations

grew quickly.


The autonomous government of Inner Mongolia promptly began censoring reports or

information connected to the death or the subsequent protests, the SMHRIC

reported. Bloggers were unable to discuss the death in chat rooms and on other

social networking services. Media barely reported the incident or its aftermath. Schools were under heavy

supervision by police and students were instructed by the authorities not to

leave campus.


A peaceful protest in the Inner

Mongolian city Xilinhot on May 27 saw thousands of people,

including a great number of students gather. Many were taken away by police or

military officers. Information on the protest was banned by the provincial and

Central propaganda departments. Media outlets were ordered to

refer to government news agency Xinhua if they wished to report on the events

and all related news and information was deleted from all online



Guardian reporter Jonathan Watts

was blocked from entering the vicinity of the protest by local police. “Special

circumstances. You're not allowed in. It's not safe,” said an officer, according

to the May 27 report on

At 4.30am the following morning, the journalist was woken by two plain clothes

police officers who entered his hotel room and attempted to interrogate



Similar non-publication orders and bans were issued on May 26 after a

series of explosions at government buildings in Fuzhou, Jiangxi province

in China’s



Three government buildings, including the procuratorate building, in

Linchun District, Fuzhou, were shaken by consecutive explosions which killed at least three people, including

the person allegedly responsible for the attack, farmer Qian Mingqi.  He had

apparently become frustrated after being forced to leave his land with little

compensation, according to reports by Hong Kong Cable



The Central Propaganda Department responded by issuing an order to

all media demanding that organisations not send any journalist to the vicinity

of the explosion and should instead rely on Xinhua



“Concealing information that has implications for public safety is an

irresponsible act by Chinese authorities,” the IFJ

Asia-Pacific said.


“The IFJ urges China’s central authorities to

abandon the use of these restrictions and allow reporting of matters of public




For further information contact IFJ

Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333



The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131



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