Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is concerned by a series of threats, assaults
and acts of intimidation against journalists and media workers in China
in recent days, but also welcomes statements by authorities noting the rights
of media workers and pledging to investigate several of these
The police detention of seven Hong Kong-based
and foreign media workers in Guangzhou
on August 1, however, was not among the incidents which authorities promised to
investigate. In this case, a group of police officers harassed the media
personnel as they reported on a rally to protect the city’s colloquial language.
Journalists in China
were banned from covering the event, and were instructed by authorities to use
government news agency reports instead.
Journalist Lam Kin-seng, of Hong Kong-based
Cable TV, reported that police surrounded the media workers before taking them to
a temporary office where they were detained for almost six hours, interrogated
and accused of being involved in “attempting to disrupt social order”.
“The IFJ urges the General Administration of
Press and Publication (GAPP) of China
and the All China Journalists’ Association to work to ensure officials at all
levels understand the rights of the media that are enshrined in China’s
Constitution,” IFJ General Secretary Aidan White said.
“The detention of
journalists on spurious criminal charges shows that local authorities continue
to attempt to block media access and reporting despite higher-level authorities
stating support for press freedom.”
Regarding three unrelated incidents in Lishui City,
Shanghai and Shenzhen
from July 23 to 30, GAPP made a statement on July 30 noting its support for the
rights of media workers and pledging to conduct investigations. These incidents
are as follows.
City, Suichang County,
on July 23, the Economic Observer’sQiu Ziming discovered his name on an online
“wanted persons” list of the local security bureau, after he published three
articles on Zhejiang Kan Specialties Material Corporation. The reports related
to the company’s suspected involved in activities which breached stock exchange
The security bureau subsequently deleted Qiu’s
name and apologised to him on July 30, although there has been no firm
commitment made to investigate alleged attempts to bribe and harass Qiu to
cover up his reports.
Meanwhile, in Shenzhen on July 29, journalist Chen
Xiaoying, of the China Times, was
punched in the head by an unidentified man when she arrived for an appointment
with an anonymous source who had claimed he would give her information about Shenzhen
International Enterprise Co. Chen believes
the assault was connected to her report, published on July 18, which alleged that
the company’s managing director may have been involved in inappropriate
on July 30, four people including a staff member of shampoo manufacturer Bawang
Group broke into the office of National
Business Daily after it reported allegations that the company’s product
might contain excessive levels of chemicals. The group shoved and harassed
staff as the deputy editor-in-chief and others tried to negotiate with them.
A final case, reported to have occurred in
Liandu District on July 16, did not elicit an appropriate response from
authorities. On July 16, Chen Wenguang, of Zhejiang TV, suffered stomach
injuries and his camera was damaged in an assault by an official of Lu Bu
village, following his request to interview village vice-officer Zeng Guofeng regarding
construction of a resort without official approval.
“The IFJ is encouraged by statements by
authorities that these kinds of attacks and restrictions on media are
unacceptable, and urges media organisations to report all such cases in the aim
of ensuring authorities exercise their duty to fully investigate and publicly
disclose the results,” White said.
For further information contact IFJ
Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 125
Find the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific