International Federation of
Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the Chengdu
Intermediate Court in China after it upheld a sentence of
five years’ imprisonment for writer Tan Zuoren
had appealed the sentence, handed down in February, on charges of inciting
subversion of state power after he had written articles about the Tiananmen
Square Massacre and the 2008 Sichuan
earthquake, and also accepted interviews
with foreign media.
conviction includes a three-year suspension of Tan’s political rights.
not surprised with the outcome,” Wang Qinghua, Tan’s wife, said.
was allowed to enter the court to witness the appeal, but her two daughters
were denied entry. Wang was denied entry in the February hearing.
was indicted on July 17 last year, accused of causing damage to the image of
China’s Government in articles he wrote about the 1989 Tiananmen Square
democratic movement and massacre, which were uploaded onto the United
States-based Torch of Liberty website on May 27, 2007.
his appeal, several Hong Kong and foreign
journalists were prevented from taking photographs outside the court building.
police said reporters can write but not take photos,” a Hong
Kong journalist said.
of Tan’s daughters was detained for an hour by the police after she took images
outside the court.
media outlets in China
have reported Tan’s case. Nor have they reported further details of the Sichuan earthquake after
the Central Propaganda Department issued orders from February 2009 to block
independent news reports on the issue.
to Radio Television Hong Kong, a volunteer who assisted Tan in his
investigations of the earthquake was placed under house arrest yesterday by the Chengdu security bureau.
the previous sentencing hearing, Hong Kong and
other foreign journalists were subject to disruption and harassment. At the
time, the IFJ raised concerns in a letter to Vice-President Xi Jinping, Premier
Wen Jiabao and the Minister of Public Security, the Governor of Sichuan
Province, and the director of the Hong Kong
and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council.
Constitution enshrines freedom of expression and the principle of a fair trial,
yet this case is another glaring example that shows these words are a nothing
but a façade,” IFJ General Secretary Aidan White
is deeply frustrating that the authorities are continuing to attempt to block
media personnel from exercising their professional duties despite numerous
assurances from President Hu Jintao that press freedom would be respected in China,”
IFJ urges China’s
authorities to honour their repeated promises to uphold press freedom and demands
the immediate release of Tan Zuoren.
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
represents over 600,000 journalists in 125 countries worldwide