Mainland journalist is criminally charged after exposing corruption

Media Release: China                                         

August 28, 2013

The International Federation of

Journalists (IFJ) condemns the

decision by the Chinese police to charge a journalist with disturbing public

order after he exposed a Government official suspected of involvement in a corruption


Liu Hu, a journalist with the Guangdong-based

newspaper New Express, wrote about

the case on the internet using his real name. Liu was reportedly detained on August

23 in Chongqing

by Beijing

police officers. Police also ransacked his house and took away his computers

and bank cards. His wife, Qin Ling, posted a message on her weibo, or microblog,

confirming that Liu was charged on August 24 with disturbing public order.

Although Qin did not mention

which corruption case was involved, it is widely believed that Liu was charged because

he used his microblog on July 29 to expose a case that may have involved Ma

Zhengqi when he was the vice mayor of Chongqing.

Ma is the Vice Minister of State Administration for Industry and Commerce.

According to Mainland media reports, a spokesperson for the State

Administration for Industry and Commerce said the case had been reported to the

SAIC management, but the spokesperson did not reveal the name of the manager involved.

Liu’s microblog account has been

suspended by the Sina weibo website

without any reason being given. As a result, all the cases that Liu has exposed

in his microblog now cannot be accessed by the public.

According to Associated Press, Liu’s

defence lawyer, Zhou Ze, queried whether police had abused their power by charging

someone with disturbing public order simply for posting a message online.

The IFJ Asia-Pacific Office said:

“It seems that a new crackdown on online reports is gathering strength. Several

people have already been detained and charged by police after they posted

messages on the internet.”

The Chinese police have frequently

used the criminal charge of “disturbing public order” to curb people’s freedom

of speech on the internet.

Qin Zhihui, Yang Xiuyu and Zhou

Lubao have been detained and accused by police of disseminating rumours in the

internet. The Chinese police said the accused people had manipulated false reports

and stirred up rumours in an effort to become well known.

One of the “rumours” that police cited

concerned Lei Feng, a Chinese Communist Party national hero. Qin queried

whether Lei existed.

The IFJ Asia-Pacific Office said:

“It is disturbing that a chill has been imposed by police action, restraining

freedom of speech on the internet across the country on the pretext of fighting


We urge the United Nations High Commissioner

for Human Rights to look into the situation in China, where

the internet has been widely adopted as a means of communication by the people.

This is particularly important for people in a country that lacks genuine

freedom of speech.

For 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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