IFJ Condemns China's Refusal to Uphold Olympic Promises

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is outraged that China’s authorities barred several press freedom activists from joining a global event on free expression in Hong Kong.


Co-organisers of “One Dream: Free Expression in China” – the Hong Kong Journalists’ Association (HKJA), the IFJ, Reporters Without Borders, the World Association of Newspapers (WAN) and several International PEN centres – sent a protest to Jacques Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).


The letter reminded Rogge of the Beijing Olympic Action Plan issued by the Chinese authorities, which promises, “In the preparation for the Games, we will be open in every aspect to the rest of the country and the whole world. We will draw on the successful experience of others and follow the international standards and criteria.”


The letter asks the IOC to call on China’s authorities not to restrict movement of individuals ahead of the Beijing Olympics in August.


On April 29, Zhang Yu, Secretary General of the International PEN Centre, based in Sweden, was detained upon his arrival in Hong Kong.


An activist for the Writers in Prison Committee (WIPC) and the Independent Chinese PEN Centre (ICPC), Zhang was questioned for several hours and deported, according to the HKJA, an IFJ affiliate.


Meanwhile, Zhao Dagong and Wen Kejian, both of ICPC, were also prevented on April 29 from leaving mainland China to visit the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.


All were to participate in the One Dream event from April 30 to May 3. The event, which is continuing, coincides with World Press Freedom Day on May 3


Immigration authorities refused to explain why the press freedom advocates were refused entry, and nor would they say what law was applied, according to the HKJA.


“China’s authorities yet again demonstrate that they refuse to brook dissent. Beijing has tried to pressure governments around the world – for example in Nepal – to fall in line with China’s propaganda machine and obliterate the voices of press freedom and human rights activists, relayed by local and international media,” said IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park.


“Their promises to the world to respect and uphold international standards of freedom of expression, freedom of movement and transparency are not to be taken seriously. The IOC must call Beijing to account.”


For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919


The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries