Information under government control in lead up to National Congress

The portrait in Tiananmen Square is replaced in the lead up to the 19th National Congress. Credit: AFP/STR

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) strongly criticises the information policies been implemented in the lead up to the National Congress of the Communist Party of China on October 18, 2017. The IFJ calls on journalists and media workers in China to remain vigilant in the lead up to the National Congress.

In the lead up to the 19th National Congress, the Community Party Secretary of Beijing, Cai Qi, demanded that officials and citizens in Beijing ensure that the meetings during the Congress run smoothly and safely. All mayors and leaders from other provinces are following strictly implemented security measures including that citizens ‘act as surveillance’, reporting any suspicious activities to local officials, including any rallies. Since the crackdown, several citizen journalists have ‘disappeared’, while others are under tight surveillance by local security agents.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, Ding Lingjie, the editor of Minsheng Guancha (Civil Rights & Livelihood Watch), disappeared on September 22. Ding was reported missing from a relative’s apartment in Shangdong Province. Several belongings, including her computer were also reported missing, and Ding’s mobile phone has been turned off. CPJ said: “When Ding's family called the local police station to report her missing, a police officer told the family that the Shijingshan branch of the Beijing municipal police detained the journalist.” Friends believe that her disappearance was related to her work with the website and the lead up to the National Congress.

Ding is an outspoken, critical voice, and has been detained on several occasions by authorities in China.

Wu Lijuan, the publisher of Rose China has been under surveillance by security agents in Hubei since September 28. According to Radio Free Asia, it is unclear why Wu is under surveillance.

Throughout September, social media messaging platform, WhatsApp has experienced disruptions. According to the New York Times, the Great Firewall is selectively targeting WhatsApp functionalities.

The IFJ Asia Pacific Office said: “The blanket approach by the government to control the flow of information in the lead up the National Congress further illustrates the government efforts to conceal and control information across China.” 

We urge the President of China and Honourable Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, Xi Jinping, to guarantee the free flow of information in China, and demand all levels of government follow this lead.

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

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