Information following an explosion outside the United States Embassy in Beijing on July 26 has raised questions about access to information in China, after key details were withheld by authorities. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has called on the authorities to release all available information relating to the incident.
On Thursday, July 26, there were a series of incidents, including an explosion outside the USA Embassy in Beijing. According to reports, a women attempted self-immolation, when she covered herself with petrol and shouted out. Security quickly took her away, before she could set the petrol alight. In a second incident, a man tried to blow himself up. The police quickly arrived and took the man away.
A few hours later, the Foreign Ministry held a press conference regarding the incident. The Ministry said there had been an incident, but did not specify that it occurred outside the Embassy. They also said that it was the result of a ‘disordered, unemployed’ Inner Mongolian man with fireworks.
However, the information from the Ministry did not align with the information released by the USA Embassy, which said the incident occurred right outside the Embassy, and the blast was from a bomb. The Ministry also did not disclose information regarding a woman trying self-immolation, who was arrested nearby at the time of the blast.
Several bloggers also complained that images from the blast were removed from social media, and several posts about the blasts were also deleted.
The IFJ said: “The authorities in China need to end the practice of withholding information following incidents in public spaces. The citizens of China have a right to access information, not only the information the authorities want to release. We demand the authorities immediately release all information regarding the incidents outside the US Embassy.”
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946
The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries
Find the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific
Find the IFJ on Facebook: www.facebook.com/IFJAsiaPacific