Chief Editor Removed Over Vaccine Scandal in China

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is concerned

to learn that a senior editor in China

has been demoted because ofhis role

in publishing a report which exposed that faulty government-issued vaccines had

killed several children in Shanxi



Local reports suggest the editor-in-chief and publisher of the China Economic Times, Bao Yueyang, 47, was removed from his position yesterday because

he decided to publish the report in the public interest and then defended his

decision and the journalist who prepared the report.


“Although the Department of Health

of Shanxi Province strongly denied the spoiled

vaccines report, Bao did not retract the report and repeatedly said it

reflected the truth. Therefore we believe the Department of Health gave a lot

of pressure in order to remove Bao from his position,” a local journalist told

the IFJ.


Bao was a key figure in the

establishment of the China Economic Times in 1994 and had held the post of editor-in-chief since 1997. The newspaper is

owned and controlled by the Development Research Centre of the State Council.


Bao has reportedly been moved to a

senior position at a small publishing company, while the head of the smaller company,

Han Lijun, will replace Bao at the China Economic Times.


The contentious

report, written by investigative journalist Wang Keqin, was published on March

17. It detailed how the failure to properly refrigerate vaccines, which featured

a government quality-assurance sticker, resulted in the deaths of four children

and the illness of at least 74 others.


“Bao Yueyang and Wang Keqin

performed an essential public service – and good journalism – in investigating

and then daring to report on a matter of grave public importance,” IFJ General

Secretary Aidan White said.


“It is alarming that Bao would be

punished for his role in alerting the community to a serious public health

concern. The newspaper’s overseers and governing authorities, including those

at the Shanxi Health Department, should be required to explain why he has been



On the day

the China Economic Timesreport was published, China’s

Information of Office of the State Council’s Internet

Propaganda Administrative Bureau ordered the deletion of all references to

reports of spoiled vaccines. On March 21, a new order was issued, demanding the

media use information exclusively from state-owned Xinhua News Agency when

reporting on the issue.


In a

separate case, Business Watch Magazine announced

on May 5 that the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) had

demanded its temporary closure as a penalty for publishing an article

containing confidential government information. 



article sourced internal government documents revealing that the State Grid

Cooperation of China, controlled by the Secretary of the Communist Party, Liu

Zhenya, had violated government regulations by exceeding the government-imposed

rate of development for state-controlled companies.


Business Watch Magazine will be closed until the end of May.


For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919


represents over 600,000 journalists in 125 countries worldwide