International Federation of
Journalists (IFJ) is deeply concerned that China’s law enforcement officers are
further targeting the free flow of information over the internet in the wake of
a series of incidents of unrest in the country in June.
The IFJ has learned that online
journalist and activist Wang Yuqin was punished with two weeks’ detention after
she repeatedly appealed for medical treatment for her detained husband Yang Qiuyu,
also an online journalist and activist.
Yang was detained by police after taking
photographs at so-called jasmine revolution protests in Beijing on March 6. Now in a detention centre,
he is suffering from a leg infection.
Civil Rights and Livelihood Watch
reported on June 16 that Wang was punished for fighting for her husband’s
rights and for applying to discuss labour rights at a forum.
The IFJ is also informed that several
internet users have been punished by local public security bureaus, citing the
Law of the People’s Republic of China
on Public Security Administration Punishments under which police are able to fine
or detain without legal process anyone who is alleged to distribute rumours or
cause social disturbances.
One case relates to an incident in Guangzhou, Guangdong
province, south-east China
in which more than 1000 people gathered on the street for three days and nights,
after police detained two street vendors on June 10. According
to reports, police in Zengcheng county said on June 15 that they detained an internet
user by the name of Chen, alleging he was involved in disseminating false
information online regarding reports that police beat a street vendor to death.
Chen remains under investigation.
In a separate incident in Chao’an county,
province, police reportedly punished a person for allegedly posting “rumours” online
and causing social unrest in Guxiang township, Chaozhou. The case relates to three days of clashes from June 3 as hundreds
of people gathered outside a ceramics factory after a former factory worker was
seriously injured by unknown individuals when he appealed for his wages. Members of the crowd clashed with police, and cars
were set alight.
Special Zone Daily reported on June 9 that an internet user was punished on
June 8 with 10 days’ detention for inciting people to
gather and fight. The report did not identify the content of the alleged “rumours”.
On June 20, state-owned Xinhua News
Agency reported another case in which an internet user was punished with 10
days’ detention after posting information about a suspected breach of land
regulations in relocating a hospital in Guiyang,
Guizhou Province. The agency report
said Nanming District police alleged the information posted on May 26 and June 17
“The actions of provincial authorities
in these cases highlight a worrying trend in which the notorious public
security law is wielded without due process or transparency, and which jeopardises
the fundamental rights of internet users in China,” IFJ
The IFJ urges China’s Minister of Public Security,
Meng Jianzhu, to curtail police power and prevent further abuses of under the
public security law.
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +61 2 9333 0919
represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries
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