Journalists Blocked When Reporting ‘Jasmine Revolution’ Protests in China


The International

Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is deeply concerned by reports that police and

security agents intervened when journalists attempted to cover protests dubbed the

“jasmine revolution” in China

on February 20.


Many non-mainland journalists were

blocked or harassed when covering the protests in Beijing,

Shanghai and Guangzhou on the day.


A Hong Kong journalist told the IFJ he

was closely followed by a security officer who prevented him from making

contact with a number of dissidents in Guangzhou.

The journalist was harassed by the officer when investigating the case of a

human rights lawyer, who was injured in a beating by five plainclothes officers

after he tried to attend the Guangzhou



“The security officer blocked my path

to reach the injured lawyer and tried to snatch my cell phone when I recorded

his unpleasant behaviour,” said the journalist, who requested anonymity. The

officer also damaged the journalist’s phone in the incident.


The English service of state-controlled

Xinhua News Agency reported on the protest but the stories later disappeared

from its website. Xinhua’s Chinese service did not report the story at all.


“It’s only a show to foreign media -

I’m not surprised,” a mainland journalist told the IFJ.


“We haven’t received any orders from

the Central Propaganda Department regarding the ‘jasmine revolution’ so

far but no

relevant reports were published in Chinese media – it’s because anyone who

publishes will be fired right away.”


The IFJ’s monitoring of China’s

media in recent years has discovered that the authorities will often order

punitive action, such as sacking and demotions, against journalists who are

working to freely report the news.


“Protests in three separate

locations in China

are a matter of legitimate public interest, and we applaud those journalists

who bravely attempt to cover these events under intense scrutiny and at risk to

their livelihoods,” IFJ General Secretary Aidan White



“A number of leaders of China’s

central authorities have publicly affirmed that public has the right to know

about what is happening in their communities.


“Without the right to speak, these

affirmations are hollow.”


China authorities further restricted

online messaging services and articles after the protests were announced on an

overseas website on February 19, the day before the protests took place. Relevant

information was totally blacked out and the website was attacked fiercely



The IFJ urges central authorities to

respect the rights of its citizens to enjoy their freedom of expression and

freedom of the press, underwritten by Article 35 of China’s Constitution.


For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919



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