International Federation of
Journalists (IFJ) is concerned that China’s
Central Propaganda Department banned media reporting on the trial of public
health campaigner Zhao Lianhai in Daxing District Court, Beijing, on March 30.
further prevented media personnel from attending the trial of Zhao, 38, who was
charged in November with inciting social disorder for his alleged involvement
in organising public protests from September 2008 to 2009.
Zhao’s child was among 300,000 victims affected by contaminated milk powder in
2008, he set up a website on the public health crisis and organised the victims’
families to seek compensation and free medical care.
was detained and charged by police when he attempted to organise a public protest
during a visit by United States President Barack Obama to China in November 2009.
case is of significant public interest in China, and efforts to prevent news reporting
on his trial is yet another example of China failing to honour its promise to
interact cooperatively with independent media in the spirit of promoting open
and transparent governance,” IFJ General Secretary Aidan
the courtroom, Zhao’s lawyer, Li Fangping, condemned the decision to hold the
trial in a closed court. He said unfounded allegations that Zhao had been involved
in a rape case were raised by a court official in order to forbid members of
the public, including Zhao’s wife and journalists, from entering the court
cannot write a word about Zhao’s case. It is the same as the day when he was
detained by police during US President Obama’s visit to China last year,” a local journalist
told the IFJ.
criminal law, the maximum penalty for inciting social disorder is five years’
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
represents over 600,000 journalists in 125 countries worldwide