Still No Respect for Most Fundamental Human Rights in China, says IFJ

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is shocked at the continued blatant disregard for human rights in China after a news an editor was brutally beaten to death, another journalist remains illegally detained and more websites are censored.

“The brutal murder of a Chinese editor and the illegal incarceration of another journalist is appalling. This coupled with the current spate of internet censorship it is clear that China has no respect for freedom of expression and fundamental human rights,” IFJ President Christopher Warren said.

Newspaper editor beaten to death by policeman

Xiao Guopeng, editor of the Ashun Daily, was reportedly attacked outside his offices by a uniformed police officer in the province of Guizhou on July 18. He died the next day in a local hospital from severe head injuries.

According to local reports, a police officer, Pan Dengfeng, has been arrested in connection with the murder and a criminal investigation is now underway.

Xiao is the second journalist to die this year in China from an attack by a police officer.

“The IFJ strongly condemns the violent and brutal murder of Xiao and calls for a full and independent investigation into his murder,” Warren said. “It is vital that perpetrators of crimes against journalists, particularly uniformed police officers, must be tried and brought to justice.”

No verdict for reporter who faces death penalty

New York Times reporter Zhao Yan has not received a verdict after his trial, which was conducted in secret on June 16.

Zhao was arrested on September 17, 2004 and now faces the death penalty for supposedly “revealing state secrets” and committing fraud. This is the second time that the verdict has been delayed and is beyond the six-week limit.

“Not only is the unjust detention of Zhao a blatant disregard of human rights,” Warren said. “It may lead to a reluctance of journalists to report Chinese news to an international audience.”

More censorship as website and chat forum are shut down

Both the Chinese website, Century China (Shiji Zhongguo - and the chat forum of “Life Magazine” (Sanlian Shenghuo Zhoukan - were reportedly shut down on July 25, with no reason given for their closure.

“The IFJ calls for the immediate reopening of the website and chat forum,” Warren said. “This is just another example of censorship in a long line of attacks on press freedom. The Chinese government continues to muffle the people’s voice and right to freedom of expression.”

For more information please contact IFJ Asia Pacific +61 2 9333 0919

The IFJ represents more than 500,000 journalists in over 120 countries