China Authorities Concede Need for Investigations into Attacks on Journalists

The International

Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is concerned by a series of threats, assaults

and acts of intimidation against journalists and media workers in China

in recent days, but also welcomes statements by authorities noting the rights

of media workers and pledging to investigate several of these



The police detention of seven Hong Kong-based

and foreign media workers in Guangzhou

on August 1, however, was not among the incidents which authorities promised to

investigate. In this case, a group of police officers harassed the media

personnel as they reported on a rally to protect the city’s colloquial language.

Journalists in China

were banned from covering the event, and were instructed by authorities to use

government news agency reports instead.


Journalist Lam Kin-seng, of Hong Kong-based

Cable TV, reported that police surrounded the media workers before taking them to

a temporary office where they were detained for almost six hours, interrogated

and accused of being involved in “attempting to disrupt social order”.


“The IFJ urges the General Administration of

Press and Publication (GAPP) of China

and the All China Journalists’ Association to work to ensure officials at all

levels understand the rights of the media that are enshrined in China’s

Constitution,” IFJ General Secretary Aidan White said.


“The detention of

journalists on spurious criminal charges shows that local authorities continue

to attempt to block media access and reporting despite higher-level authorities

stating support for press freedom.”


Regarding three unrelated incidents in Lishui City,

Shanghai and Shenzhen

from July 23 to 30, GAPP made a statement on July 30 noting its support for the

rights of media workers and pledging to conduct investigations. These incidents

are as follows.


In Lishui

City, Suichang County,

on July 23, the Economic Observer’sQiu Ziming discovered his name on an online

“wanted persons” list of the local security bureau, after he published three

articles on Zhejiang Kan Specialties Material Corporation. The reports related

to the company’s suspected involved in activities which breached stock exchange



The security bureau subsequently deleted Qiu’s

name and apologised to him on July 30, although there has been no firm

commitment made to investigate alleged attempts to bribe and harass Qiu to

cover up his reports.


Meanwhile, in Shenzhen on July 29, journalist Chen

Xiaoying, of the China Times, was

punched in the head by an unidentified man when she arrived for an appointment

with an anonymous source who had claimed he would give her information about Shenzhen

International Enterprise Co. Chen believes

the assault was connected to her report, published on July 18, which alleged that

the company’s managing director may have been involved in inappropriate



In Shanghai

on July 30, four people including a staff member of shampoo manufacturer Bawang

Group broke into the office of National

Business Daily after it reported allegations that the company’s product

might contain excessive levels of chemicals. The group shoved and harassed

staff as the deputy editor-in-chief and others tried to negotiate with them.


A final case, reported to have occurred in

Liandu District on July 16, did not elicit an appropriate response from

authorities. On July 16, Chen Wenguang, of Zhejiang TV, suffered stomach

injuries and his camera was damaged in an assault by an official of Lu Bu

village, following his request to interview village vice-officer Zeng Guofeng regarding

construction of a resort without official approval.


“The IFJ is encouraged by statements by

authorities that these kinds of attacks and restrictions on media are

unacceptable, and urges media organisations to report all such cases in the aim

of ensuring authorities exercise their duty to fully investigate and publicly

disclose the results,” White said.




For further information contact IFJ

Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919


The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 125



Find the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific