Media Release: China
March 18, 2013
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is concerned China’s
Central Propaganda Department has imposed censorship on media outlets after
they began reporting the death of thousands of pigs in China’s Shanghai and Zhejiang province.
Several Chinese media outlets have been reporting reported that,
since March 5, dramatic numbers of pig carcasses are being discovered in
waterways around Shanghai.
The English-language service of The
Global Times, the People’s Daily sister publication, reported on March 17 that Shanghai Water Authority had not
found any viruses in water samples taken from the districts of Songjiang,
Jinshan, Minhang and Fengxian.
The report also said the Shanghai Animal Disease Control Centre
found that 13 of the 20 tissue samples taken from pig carcasses tested positive
for porcine circovirus, adding that the virus does not affect humans.
Furthermore, the Animal Disease Control Centre in Zhejiang Province
had found that 16 of the 36 tissue samples it tested contained porcine
circovirus and seven tested positive for porcine epidemic diarrhea virus,
another common disease in pigs. Yu Kangzhen, State chief veterinary officer of
the Ministry of Agriculture, was quoted as saying more pigs have been dying due
to poor or overcrowded environments and the cold rainy weather over the winter.
According to the state-controlled Xinhua News Agency, there were no
large-scale infectious diseases among the pig carcasses, nor have they found
any sign of zoonosis, which can be transmitted from animals to humans.
While media outlets were investigating the problem, they received
an order from the Central Propaganda Department on March 14 that prohibited
independent reporting or commentary on the issue. Instead, the media outlets
were directed to republish Xinhua’s report.
The IFJ’s Asia-Pacific office says: “The new Premier Li Keqiang
has said food safety is of the utmost importance. On March 17, on closing of
the annual legislative session, he stated that it is directly related to
people's health and quality of life. He further added that the media has an
important role to play in overseeing the operations of the new Cabinet.”
The IFJ urges Premier Li to investigate the issue and urges the
Central Propaganda Department to raise its ban on reporting and allow the media
to continue to independently report the problem. “Clearly people need access to
reliable information about the cause of massive numbers of pig deaths, how they
should protect themselves, and how the authority into to handle the situation.”
The IFJ urges the All Chinese Journalists Association of China to fight
for the right to exercise their professional duties.
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0950
The IFJ represents more than 600,000
journalists in 131 countries
Find the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific
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