International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns the decision to suspend,
and later dismiss, the Editor of a newspaper in southern China for
online comments deemed critical of the government.
Chen, 39, the Editor of the in-depth investigative news desk of the Guangdong-based
national newspaper, Southern Metropolitan
Newspaper, was suspended, and later forced to resign, from his position
because of online comments he made using the newspaper’s microblog account.
journalist told IFJ that Yu had mistakenly used the official account of the
newspaper’s Sina microblog to comment via his cell phone. Yu’s comment was made
in response to a post questioning whether China’s Ministry of National Defence should
serve the Chinese Communist Party or the country as a whole.
response was considered unacceptable and was immediately deleted from the microblog
account, as was the original message to which he had responded.
hard to know for sure the cause of Yu’s suspension”, a local journalist said. “However
the working environment in China is very difficult at present, because of a
number of recent sensitive cases and the upcoming holding of the 18th National
Congress of the Chinese Communist Party.”
is the first Chinese journalist to be forced to resign from a newspaper because
of comments made online. Another journalist, Li Delin, was previously punished by police in March after merely forwarding an online
enjoy true freedom when individuals can be punished for exercising their right
to freedom of expression”, IFJ Asia-Pacific Office said.
persist of individuals being punished for messages forwarded or created,
without any proper explanation being given as to which laws they have broken”.
IFJ urges China’s
authorities to respect the right of China’s citizens to express
IFJ also urges the Editor-in-Chief of the Southern
Metropolitan Newspaper to reconsider the decision to dismiss Yu Chen from his
further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0950
The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131
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