Retribution for Journalists and Internet Users in China



International Federation of

Journalists (IFJ) is deeply concerned that China’s law enforcement officers are

further targeting the free flow of information over the internet in the wake of

a series of incidents of unrest in the country in June.


The IFJ has learned that online

journalist and activist Wang Yuqin was punished with two weeks’ detention after

she repeatedly appealed for medical treatment for her detained husband Yang Qiuyu,

also an online journalist and activist.


Yang was detained by police after taking

photographs at so-called jasmine revolution protests in Beijing on March 6. Now in a detention centre,

he is suffering from a leg infection.


Civil Rights and Livelihood Watch

reported on June 16 that Wang was punished for fighting for her husband’s

rights and for applying to discuss labour rights at a forum.


The IFJ is also informed that several

internet users have been punished by local public security bureaus, citing the

Law of the People’s Republic of China

on Public Security Administration Punishments under which police are able to fine

or detain without legal process anyone who is alleged to distribute rumours or

cause social disturbances.


One case relates to an incident in Guangzhou, Guangdong

province, south-east China

in which more than 1000 people gathered on the street for three days and nights,

after police detained two street vendors on June 10. According

to reports, police in Zengcheng county said on June 15 that they detained an internet

user by the name of Chen, alleging he was involved in disseminating false

information online regarding reports that police beat a street vendor to death.

Chen remains under investigation.


In a separate incident in Chao’an county,


province, police reportedly punished a person for allegedly posting “rumours” online

and causing social unrest in Guxiang township, Chaozhou. The case relates to three days of clashes from June 3 as hundreds

of people gathered outside a ceramics factory after a former factory worker was

seriously injured by unknown individuals when he appealed for his wages. Members of the crowd clashed with police, and cars

were set alight.



Special Zone Daily reported on June 9 that an internet user was punished on

June 8 with 10 days’ detention for inciting people to

gather and fight. The report did not identify the content of the alleged “rumours”.


On June 20, state-owned Xinhua News

Agency reported another case in which an internet user was punished with 10

days’ detention after posting information about a suspected breach of land

regulations in relocating a hospital in Guiyang,

Guizhou Province. The agency report

said Nanming District police alleged the information posted on May 26 and June 17

was false.


“The actions of provincial authorities

in these cases highlight a worrying trend in which the notorious public

security law is wielded without due process or transparency, and which jeopardises

the fundamental rights of internet users in China,” IFJ

Asia-Pacific said.


The IFJ urges China’s Minister of Public Security,

Meng Jianzhu, to curtail police power and prevent further abuses of under the

public security law. 


For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +61 2 9333 0919



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