IFJ Sends Letter to China Vice-President Re Police Abuse of Media



Xi Jinping, Vice President of China

Wen Jiabao, Premier of China

Meng Jianzhu, Minister of Public Security

Sir Donald Tsang Yam-Kuen, Chief Executive of Hong Kong

Peng Qinghua, Director of Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council



September 7, 2009





Re: Police

Abuses in Xinjiang and Sichuan



The International

Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is alarmed to receive reports that Chinese

authorities used force and violence to prevent journalists and media workers reporting

on matters of major public interest in Xinjiang and Sichuan provinces.


The IFJ is informed that Xinjiang paramilitary police assaulted

three Hong Kong journalists and harassed several others who were reporting on a

public protest in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uygur

Autonomous Region, on September 5.


According to local sources, police handcuffed and

detained journalist Lam Tsz-ho and cameraman Lau Wing-chuan, of Television

Broadcast (TVB), as well as Now

Television cameraman Lam Chun-wai. They were reportedly held for more than

three hours after covering the police use of tear gas in the protest. Police

allegedly pointed a gun at Lam Tsz-ho to compel him to adhere to their orders. The

three media workers reported injuries to their shoulders, necks and heads.


In a separate incident, five Hong

Kong journalists were reportedly detained at another public protest

on September 6. They were harassed and escorted to their hotel by police, and

thus prevented from doing their jobs in reporting on a matter of public interest.


In another incident in Sichuan Province

on August 12, police prevented Now Television journalist Wong Ka-yu and her cameraman

from reporting on the trial of poet Tan Zuoren. The journalists were accused of

possessing illegal substances and held in their hotel room until the trial was

finished. After searching the hotel room, police found no illegal substances

and the journalists were released. The IFJ is concerned that the police were

explicitly seeking to prevent the journalists from attending the trial hearing.


The IFJ respectfully reminds China’s central and

provincial authorities that this aggressive escalating police interference against

the media not only restricts’ journalists from conducting their profession but

is a violation of China’s stated commitment to improving freedoms under its

National Human Rights Action Plan of China (2009-2010), published by the

Central Government on 13 April 2009 .


Section 5 of the Action Plan states that China’s Government

will make all efforts to provide all information pertaining to matters of

public interest and government affairs, including the management of emergencies,

disasters and public riots.


Police efforts to prevent journalists and media workers doing

their jobs in Xinjiang and Sichuan provinces contravenes the principles of the Action

Plan and underscores the failure of China’s authorities and governments at

various levels to meet internationally held standards of information access,

press freedom and freedom of expression, as enshrined in the Universal

Declaration of Human Rights.


The IFJ respectfully reminds Vice-President Xi Jinping

and Premier Wen Jiaobao that the manner in which Xinjiang and Sichuan

police treated the above journalists and media workers is a serious violation

of the principles of press freedom and freedom of movement as enshrined in China’s

Constitution, as well as the spirit National Human Rights Action Plan.


The IFJ calls on Premier Wen to urge the Minister of

China’s Security Bureau and the Xinjiang Governor to conduct an investigation

into these incidents and publicly report the results as a means to reaffirm China’s

commitment to improving freedom of the media, freedom of expression and access

to information in China.


Yours sincerely,






IFJ Asia-Pacific

International Federation of Journalists