Attacks and Unwarranted Investigation of Journalists in China

The

International Federation of

Journalists (IFJ) is deeply concerned about two separate incidents perpetrated

against journalists in China

in recent days, one which left a journalist seriously injured.

 

On

June 24, Fang Xuen Chang, scientific editor of the Beijing-based Caijing Magazine, was beaten over the

head with an iron rod by two unidentified assailants, after he left work. Fang‘s

head and back were seriously injured in the attack, which occurred near Fang’s

home, according to Phoenix Satellite TV. 

 

Reports

said Fang claimed to have no knowledge of why he was attacked and he denied experiencing

tension or animosity with other people. However, Fang, who has focused on

health issues in his reporting, recalled that his latest critical news report

was related to genetic mutations found in crops grown in China.

 

“It is a sad reality that in China it is

rare for the perpetrators of abhorrent crimes against journalists to face the

full force of the law,” IFJ General Secretary Aidan

White said.

 

“The International

Federation of Journalists urges China’s

authorities to promptly investigate the brutal assault of Fang Xuen Chang and ensure

the perpetrators are brought to justice quickly, upholding promises made by China’s leaders

to ensure the rights of journalists to report freely.”

 

In

a separate incident on June 25, three journalists from the Chongqing Morning Post were detained in Chongqing and interrogated by police for

allegedly posting “unacceptable content” on an online social chat room. 

 

Liao

Yi, Chen Songbo and Qiu Jinyi first came under investigation by local police

after they posted some messages about a hotel that was shut down by the local

government on June 20.  A journalist

informed the IFJ that Liao, Chen and Qiu had stated that the hotel’s closure

was due to illegal acts of prostitution occurring on the premises, and the

journalists were investigating the role of hotel shareholders in the alleged activities.

 

 

The

Chongqing Morning Post said on June

24 that no media workers had been detained, after rumours that one of the three

journalists had been sentenced to a labour re-education camp.

 

After

the detention and interrogation on June 25, Chen and Qiu were allowed to leave

but Liao is reported to be still under investigation.

 

The

so-called “unacceptable content” message has since been deleted from the chat

room.

 

“Police attempting to extract

information from journalists by interrogating them is a violation of a free press

and is condemned by the IFJ,” White said.

 

“The journalists subjected to this

interrogation have a responsibility to protect their sources and the right to

freedom of expression, which is enshrined in Article 35 of China’s Constitution.”

 

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919

 

The IFJ

represents more than 600,000 journalists in 125 countries