IFJ Urges Free Reporting of Expenditure of Donated Funds in China


The International Federation of

Journalists (IFJ) is concerned by reports that an order was issued by Chinese

authorities to stifle media reporting of the demolition of a school, rebuilt

after the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan with funds from the Hong Kong Government, and

replaced with a commercial development.


On May 22, 2012, a mainland Chinese

newspaper, Southern Metropolis Daily,

reported that a rebuilt school in the city of Mianyang, in China’s southern Sichuan

province, was demolished and replaced with a dual-purpose commercial and

residential complex.


According the report, the Hong Kong

Government was one of the donors for the school’s reconstruction, but was

unaware that the school had been demolished and replaced. The rebuilt school was

only used for two years, serving approximately 300 students in that time. The Hong

Kong Government donated half of the 4 million Hong Kong Dollars (approximately

USD 500,000) used to fund the reconstruction of the school.


In response to mounting media interest

in the story, an order was issued by China’s Central Propaganda Department that

no independent reporting was allowed except for republishing of the story

published in Xinhua, the Chinese

Communist Party’s official newspaper.


On May 27, Xinhua reported that the Sichuan Government had confirmed that the

school was demolished without consultation with, nor consent from, the Hong

Kong Government. On May 28, the provincial government was reported as

disagreeing with the decision to demolish the school, proclaiming the decision

was “totally wrong”.


“The Central Propaganda Department continues

to act contrary to the statement by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao that the public

has a crucial role in the supervision of government action”, IFJ Asia Pacific

Office said,


“By limiting independent reporting on

the use of public and donated funds, the right of Chinese citizens to monitor

the performance of their government is undermined.


The IFJ urges China’s authorities to

lift its restrictions on the independent reporting of public interest stories,

such as the demolition of the school in Sichuan, so that the media is able to

support the public in exercising its rights to information.”


The Hong Kong Government has announced

that it is it is considering seeking the return of those funds provided in 2008

as aid for the construction of the school.



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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