The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is concerned
to learn that a senior editor in China
has been demoted because ofhis role
in publishing a report which exposed that faulty government-issued vaccines had
killed several children in Shanxi
Local reports suggest the editor-in-chief and publisher of the China Economic Times, Bao Yueyang, 47, was removed from his position yesterday because
he decided to publish the report in the public interest and then defended his
decision and the journalist who prepared the report.
“Although the Department of Health
of Shanxi Province strongly denied the spoiled
vaccines report, Bao did not retract the report and repeatedly said it
reflected the truth. Therefore we believe the Department of Health gave a lot
of pressure in order to remove Bao from his position,” a local journalist told
Bao was a key figure in the
establishment of the China Economic Times in 1994 and had held the post of editor-in-chief since 1997. The newspaper is
owned and controlled by the Development Research Centre of the State Council.
Bao has reportedly been moved to a
senior position at a small publishing company, while the head of the smaller company,
Han Lijun, will replace Bao at the China Economic Times.
report, written by investigative journalist Wang Keqin, was published on March
17. It detailed how the failure to properly refrigerate vaccines, which featured
a government quality-assurance sticker, resulted in the deaths of four children
and the illness of at least 74 others.
“Bao Yueyang and Wang Keqin
performed an essential public service – and good journalism – in investigating
and then daring to report on a matter of grave public importance,” IFJ General
Secretary Aidan White said.
“It is alarming that Bao would be
punished for his role in alerting the community to a serious public health
concern. The newspaper’s overseers and governing authorities, including those
at the Shanxi Health Department, should be required to explain why he has been
On the day
the China Economic Timesreport was published, China’s
Information of Office of the State Council’s Internet
Propaganda Administrative Bureau ordered the deletion of all references to
reports of spoiled vaccines. On March 21, a new order was issued, demanding the
media use information exclusively from state-owned Xinhua News Agency when
reporting on the issue.
separate case, Business Watch Magazine announced
on May 5 that the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) had
demanded its temporary closure as a penalty for publishing an article
containing confidential government information.
article sourced internal government documents revealing that the State Grid
Cooperation of China, controlled by the Secretary of the Communist Party, Liu
Zhenya, had violated government regulations by exceeding the government-imposed
rate of development for state-controlled companies.
Business Watch Magazine will be closed until the end of May.
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
represents over 600,000 journalists in 125 countries worldwide