IFJ Calls for Release of Imprisoned Journalists, Writers and Bloggers in China on CCP Anniversary

Hu

Jintao

General Secretary

Standing Committee of

the Political Bureau

CPC Central Committee

President of China

 

 

Re:

Call to release all journalists, writers and bloggers

on

90th anniversary of the Communist Party of China

 

Dear President Hu,

 

The International

Federation of Journalists (IFJ) writes to you to respectfully urge the Standing

Committee of the Political Bureau of Communist Party in China, on the eve of the

party’s 90-year anniversary on July 1, to demonstrate its commitment to free

expression by releasing all imprisoned journalists, writers and bloggers and

fully implement rights and protections to these individuals that are enshrined

under the constitution of China.

 

In the past 30 years, China has dramatically changed its

economy, infrastructure and defence systems and its relationship with the

world. Many citizens of China

have experienced the benefits of these changes but the past three decades has

not seen people also enjoy their constitutional rights. Since 2008, the IFJ has

recorded too many cases of journalists, writers, bloggers, activists and

ordinary civilians who have been harassed and threatened with physical harm,

including death, of punishment or imprisonment after exercising their right to free

expression under Article 35 of the Chinese Constitution.

 

“We need to create conditions for people to oversee and criticise

the government to make the government live up to its responsibility and prevent

corruption.” These are the words of Premier Wen, from a speech to Britain’s

renowned Royal Society on June 27. This is not the first time such a promise

has been made. Premier Wen made similar pledges in September 2008 at the World

Economic Forum in Tianjin and when addressing the

National People’s Congress in Beijing in March 2010.

 

We appreciate that Premier Wen has made efforts in these areas.

The IFJ recognises comments made this week by the General Administration of

Press and Publications (GAPP) which made it clear that “blacklisting” of

journalists by Government departments would not be allowed.

 

Overall however, these promises have barely been honoured. People who

have courageously spoken up to help the Government understand the realities and

the hardships that people experience at the grassroots have routinely been

targeted with severe punitive action by local, provincial and central

authorities.

 

Thousands of journalists, writers and bloggers have been harassed for

exercising their right to report the news, in some cases by Government agents.

Some journalists have died or been brutally assaulted. Investigative journalist

Sun Hongjie of the Northern Xinjiang

Morning Post was killed after he was beaten on December 17, 2010 by unknown

people in Kuitun, Xinjiang. Sun’s death came immediately after he had published

an investigative report about the corruption of Kuituntownship government. Local police speedily concluded that Sun’s

death was due to a personal dispute and detained six people.  However, the IFJ considers that the conclusion

of the investigation was unconvincing.

 

A female journalist, known as Lim, of China Central

Television was seriously injured on June 9 by an unknown male outside of the broadcaster’s

office building in Chaoyang District, Beijing. Lim sustained knife wounds to her nose

and face in the attack. Police announced on the day of the assault that they apprehended a suspect, yet results of the investigation are obscure.

 

Cases such as these highlight the fact that journalism is a

dangerous profession in China.

The IFJ believes conditions for media professionals will worsen if the

Government persists in its apparent intention to ignore the dangerous

conditions that journalists and media workers face in the course of their

working lives.

 

The Communist Party has a monopoly on power in China, and as such it should bear a

much greater burden to protect its citizens and their constitutional rights, particularly

regarding freedom of expression. Such rights were enshrined in China’s

first constitution made in 1954 and have been maintained in later amendments.

 

Premier Wen also told Britain’s Royal Society on June 27

that “the more the people participate in social management and public affairs,

the greater the momentum there will be to sustain social progress.” The IFJ believes

that in order to constructively achieve such social progress, it is imperative

to allow people to enjoy genuine freedom of expression, which in turn will

allow the government to be more inclusive and make for a stronger, more

harmonious society.

 

IFJ appeals to the Standing Committee of the Communist Party

Central Committee to release all people who have been imprisoned for merely

exercising their right to freedom of expression including Liu Xiaobo, Tan

Zuoren, Ran Yunfei, Shi Tao, Qi Chonghuai, Liu Xianbin, Hailaite Niyazi and

Dilshat Perhat.

 

We urge the Public Security Bureau of China to ensure that public

security officers at all levels uphold and promote Article 35 of the Chinese

Constitution and release all information about the attacks made on journalists since

the 2008 Olympics, when the Chinese Government promised to support more media

freedoms in mainland China.

 

The IFJ believes that on this 90-year anniversary, Communist Party

of China officials must recognise that increased media freedoms will assist China to

become a transparent, accountable, fair and respectful nation, goals that match

the party’s future vision for the country.

 

IFJ Asia-Pacific

June 30,

2011

 

Cc:

 

Wen Jiabao

Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the

CPC Central Committee

Premier of China 

 

Wu Bangguo

Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the

CPC Central Committee

chairman of the 11th NPC Standing Committee

 

Jia Qinglin

Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC

Central Committee

chairman of the 11th National

Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference

 

Li Changchun

Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the

CPC Central Committee

Oversight Communist Propaganda Department

 

Xi Jinping

Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the

CPC Central Committee

Vice President of China

 

Li Keqiang

Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the

CPC Central Committee

Vice-Premier of the State Council

 

He Guoqiang

Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau

Secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and

head of the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee

 

Zhou Yongkang

Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau

Minister and Party secretary of the Ministry of Public Security

 

 

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +61 2 9333 0919

 

The IFJ

represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries

 

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IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific

 

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