The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) urges the Board of Governors of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) group to defend people’s right to free speech during the upcoming APEC meetings in Beijing.
Beijing Police on June 26 launched another campaign aimed at alleged online crime. The campaign, called “Internet Security Comprehensive Special Action”, will conclude at the end of November. During this period, police will monitor online messages, including texts sent on cell phones, to detect “traditional crimes that endanger social order”, such as disseminating “illegal online messages”, “hazardous illegal messages”, or information that threatens state security. The police did not give definitions for any of these alleged criminal acts.
The IFJ Asia-Pacific Office said: “It seems that the Beijing police are simply enlarging their powers to restrain people’s right to free speech. They are repeating what they do in any so-called ‘sensitive’ period.”
More than 200 participants, including academic experts, senior officials from APEC member countries, and representatives from the business community and government departments will attend the meetings. The free flow of information is essential to APEC’s work for economic development, as it is for all people.
We ask the APEC Board of Governors to urge the China National Committee for Pacific Economic Cooperation to defend the right to free speech by investigating this new police campaign.
We also urge the Chinese authorities to demand that the APEC Board of Governors make a formal apology to eight Hong Kong journalists who were deprived of their rights when they were reporting on the APEC meeting in Indonesia in October 2013. The journalists were refused entry to the meeting, forced to leave their hotels and followed on the street.