The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is deeply concerned
to learn that mainstream Hong Kong newspapers removed items regarding the 20th anniversary of the June 4 Tiananmen Square massacre on the instruction of
It is unclear whether the instruction was made in Hong Kong
but mainland subscribers to three Hong Kong newspapers –Ming Pao Newspaper, Hong Kong
Economic Times and South
China Morning Post – found that parts of the newspapers were missing and delivery
Ming Pao reported in an editorial on May 28 that publication of its papers had
been delayed or some of the pages in its editions had been reported missing since May
19. The censored papers
were distributed to mainland subscribers.
According to an anonymous source from the delivery agency
for Ming Pao, the delayed delivery
and missing pages were reportedly a result of “senior instruction” to remove
articles and references to June 4.
The action comes as China’s Central Government is clamping
down further to prevent internet users, bloggers and online journalists from accessing
or posting any information relating to Tiananmen.
A blogger, who asked to remain anonymous, told the IFJ that
online discussion about the June 4 anniversary had been occurring until a few
weeks ago, when any mention of messages or text related to the anniversary
The search engine Baidu is also reportedly limiting online
users, mainly university students, from uploading messages on its campus forum page. A
website called China Think (www.chinathink.net)
containing intellectual discussions including about June 4 was shut down on May
25 without explanation.
“Press freedom in any country requires that matters of
public interest not be tailored to exclude subjects considered by authorities to
be taboo,” IFJ General Secretary Aidan White
“Any act to physically remove media reports on the June 4 anniversary,
whether it be in online forums or in printed newspapers, amounts to heavy-handed
censorship that would not be tolerated in an open society.”
The IFJ urges China
to demonstrate that its National Human Rights Action Plan of China 2009-2010 is
a legitimate promise to improve the right to freedom of expression and
information for all people in China.
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
represents over 600,000 journalists in
120 countries worldwide