Journalists Obstructed in Lead-up to Tiananmen Anniversary in China


The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns

attempts by officials in China

to obstruct contact between journalists and mourners ahead of the anniversary

of the 1989 Tiananmen Square

massacre on June 4.


Jiang Qisheng,

vice-chairman of Independent PEN, told the IFJ he had been repeatedly obstructed

or prevented from making contact with journalists or people connected to

victims of the massacre.


On May 18, a security officer reportedly instructed

a café owner in Beijing to refuse service to

Jiang and a Hong Kong journalist to prevent an

interview from taking place. Despite changing locations,

the interview was watched by security personnel.


The incident occurred three days after Jiang reported his

house in Beijing had been ransacked and security personnel had detained and interrogated him for six

hours, following his writing of an article entitled “Report of June 4 Victims”

on May 15, intended for online publication.


On May 18, 1999, Jiang was arrested and subsequently sentenced

to four years’ jail for subverting state power, after he wrote and distributed articles commemorating

the victims of 1989. He

completed his prison sentence in November 2003.


“They are absolutely violating my freedom. I have rights to

move and rights to talk with anyone without any kind of harassment,” Jiang told

the IFJ.


Meanwhile, well-known Beijing

dissident Zhang Zuhua and online writer Zan Aizong reported receiving warnings

from China’s

security bureau in April to desist from writing about the June 4 anniversary.


In addition, Zhang Xianling,

a member of Tiananmen Mothers, a

group of democracy activists whose children were killed in 1989, said she also had

been warned two days before a May 17 memorial ceremony in Beijing not to invite media to participate in

or report on the ceremony.


“I don’t think they are correct by not allowing us to talk

with press since our assembly is legal,” Zhang said.


“The founder of Tiananmen Mothers, Ding Zilin, and her

husband have not shown up to the memorial event since they were ordered not to

participate and were followed by plain-clothes officers all day long,” Zhang



“Obstructions of this kind continue to hinder press freedom in

China and also deny families

their right to assemble and to grieve the tragedy of one of China’s significant historical

events,” IFJ General Secretary Aidan White



The IFJ urges China’s central government to

adhere to its repeatedly stated commitment to permitting greater freedom of the

press and of association .


For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919



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