China

2013


Reports   |   Azerbaijan, China, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Syria, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Vietnam

Second worst year on record for jailed journalists

For the second consecutive year, Turkey was the world’s leading jailer of journalists, followed closely by Iran and China. The number of journalists in prison globally decreased from a year earlier but remains close to historical highs. A CPJ special report by Elana Beiser

Turkish journalists protest for media rights in Istanbul on November 5, 2013. Demonstrators proceeded at a rate of one step per minute to highlight the slow process of justice in Turkey. (AFP/Ozan Kose)
December 18, 2013 12:01 AM ET

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Blog   |   China

Covering China goes far beyond the current visa woes

Everyone agreed at the panel discussion I took part in yesterday in Washington that the fate of about two dozen journalists working for The New York Times and Bloomberg News in China is unresolved. No one knows what will happen by the ostensible deadline of midnight, December 31, 2013, for their expulsion. I say ostensible, because maybe the deadline can be extended under some arcane rule known only to China's immigration officials. For now, those journalists are dangling in what has come to be called "visa purgatory," a term attributed to me but which really came from one of those journalists in purgatory, that is to say, waiting in Beijing for his visa to be renewed, with whom I spoke recently.

Blog   |   Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, South Africa, Sri Lanka

Journalists can help curb gender-based violence

Training journalists how to better cover gender-based violence can help challenge attitudes that foster sexual attacks. Helping journalists learn personal skills to safely navigate sexual aggression can help prevent them from becoming victims themselves.

Blog   |   China

Q&A: Paul Mooney on reporting in China

I've known Paul Mooney since we worked together at Time Warner's Hong Kong-based magazine Asiaweek, which closed in December 2001. After that we'd overlapped in Beijing for several stints. A lot has been written about China's refusal to give him a visa to let him go back to Beijing to work as a features writer for Reuters --- a dream job for a reporter with as many clips as he has built up over the years. He's been quoted widely about what happened, but I haven't seen his full account anywhere else. So here is an email exchange with him from today (I've dropped a reference to some foreign journalists Mooney named who are also having visa problems and most likely wouldn't want to be mentioned):

November 12, 2013 3:10 PM ET

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Blog   |   China

In China: Who, and what, to believe?

The New Express's campaign to get Chen Yongzhou, 27, released from police detention last week attracted international attention, including CPJ's.  Chen had been picked up October 18 on "suspicion of damaging commercial reputation" with a series of stores alleging financial mismanagement and corruption at Zoomlion Heavy Industry Science and Technology Co., China's second-largest heavy equipment maker. On Wednesday and Thursday last week the Guangzhou-based New Express ran front page, big character headlines calling for their reporter's release. The paper's editors had thoroughly vetted Chen's stories and they had found only one factual error, they said in support of his reporting.

October 28, 2013 2:59 PM ET

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Alerts   |   China

In China, journalist held for alleging financial wrongdoing

New York, October 23, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls for the immediate release of a Chinese journalist who has been detained since Friday after publishing a series of reports alleging financial misdeeds at a partly state-owned construction equipment company.

Blog   |   China

Is China silencing rumors, or the public?

China's Internet has changed fundamentally since Shi Tao was given a 10-year prison sentence in 2005. Shi's case was a marker of sorts--- the first high profile sentencing in China for online activity. The government says 40 percent of the population is online as of December 2012. That's 564 million people. In 2005, penetration was 8.5 per cent. Shi was detained in 2004 and sentenced on charges of "leaking state secrets abroad" for messages he wrote summarizing government restrictions on domestic media reporting on the 15th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. He used his Yahoo email account to post anonymous messages on a US-based pro-democracy forum. His unexpected release from prison on August 23 was announced Saturday in a statement from PEN International, an organization of writers.

September 12, 2013 12:17 PM ET

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Statements   |   China

Release of Chinese journalist Shi Tao was long overdue

New York, September 9, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the early release of journalist Shi Tao, who was first detained in 2004 and sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2005 on charges of "leaking state secrets abroad." Shi was released on August 23, according to an announcement on Sunday by Zhang Yu, the deputy secretary-general of the Independent Chinese PEN Center.

September 9, 2013 3:15 PM ET

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Alerts   |   China

Hong Kong news outlets face litigation over sources

Hong Kong, August 9, 2013--The government's anti-corruption agency has demanded two news outlets turn over notes and other material related to interviews they conducted with an oil executive who is under investigation. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on the Independent Commission Against Corruption to withdraw its requests.

Blog   |   China

Chinese censors silence corruption blogger

Chinese censors have cracked down on blogger Zhu Ruifeng, an apparent signal that there are limits to the government's tolerance for citizens assisting with the exposure of corrupt officials.

On July 16, one day after the Beijing-based blogger and founder of an anti-corruption website published corruption allegations about the chief secretary of Jinjiang city in Fujian province, his online presence disappeared.

Alerts   |   China

Police officer accused of threatening Chinese journalist

Hong Kong, July 16, 2013--Chinese authorities must conduct an independent and thorough investigation into reports that a plainclothes police officer said to be involved in an auto accident in Kunming City, Yunnan, threatened a television journalist trying to cover the collision, and damaged the news crew's equipment, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Blog   |   China

In China, foreign correspondents see worsening conditions

Many international correspondents in China believe reporting conditions have worsened over the past year, according to a new survey by the Foreign Correspondents' Club of China that also finds the Chinese government has "increasingly resorted to threats and intimidation against foreign media."

Blog   |   China

China, local leaders threaten Hong Kong press freedom

A defaced picture of Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying is displayed during an annual pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong on July 1.(AP/Vincent Yu)

In "Dark Clouds on the Horizon," the Hong Kong Journalists Association's latest annual report, the group warns that China is tightening its grip over Hong Kong media. The findings come at a time when attacks on a pro-democracy media group, Next Media, have raised fears of aggression against news outlets known for being critical of China. 

Alerts   |   China

Attacks on Hong Kong news outlets must be prosecuted

Jimmy Lai's Apple Daily newspaper is known for its outspoken criticism of China. (Reuters/Nicky Loh)

Hong Kong, July 3, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Hong Kong authorities to expedite investigations into recent attacks against news outlets known for being critical of China. In the most recent attack targeting Next Media Limited on June 30, three masked men threatened distribution workers with knives, then burned 26,000 copies of the group's Chinese-language newspaper Apple Daily, according to news reports.

Blog   |   China

In Hong Kong law, privacy may trump public interest

Demonstrators fill Hong Kong's financial district. (Reuters/Bobby Yip)

Tens of thousands of residents demonstrated on the streets of Hong Kong on Monday, the 16th anniversary of the city's return to Chinese rule. The protests have become an annual rite, but the demonstrators' demands were quite specific this year. They wanted the resignation of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and they called for direct elections. These demonstrators look around and see eroding freedoms and what one commentator, Emily Lau, called "a rule of law in a precarious state." Journalists are uneasy as well. Vague and potentially onerous aspects of recently passed privacy legislation could put them at risk of harsh punishment.

July 2, 2013 3:43 PM ET

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Blog   |   China, Ecuador, Russia, USA, Venezuela

Snowden travels trace a path of government hypocrisy

In a Hong Kong mall, a television monitor shows Snowden. (Reuters/Bobby Yip)

Edward Snowden's global travels have highlighted the chasm between the political posturing and actual practices of governments when it comes to free expression. As is well known now, the former government contractor's leaks exposed the widespread phone and digital surveillance being conducted by the U.S. National Security Agency, practices at odds with the Obama administration's positioning of the United States as a global leader on Internet freedom and its calls for technology companies to resist foreign demands for censorship and surveillance. 

June 24, 2013 9:03 AM ET

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Blog   |   China, France, Thailand

Chinese diplomats harass France 24 reporter

Diplomats are charged with promoting cordial and constructive ties between nations. But Chinese embassy officials in France and Thailand appear bent on fostering fear and disgust with recent efforts to harass and intimidate France 24 reporter Cyril Payen.

Alerts   |   China

Chinese journalist held after publishing book on Tiananmen

New York, June 13, 2013--Chinese authorities must immediately release a journalist who has been detained since May 31 following the publication of his book on the Tiananmen massacre, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Du Bin's detention, which was reported by his family members, came a few days before the 24th anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown.

June 13, 2013 3:32 PM ET

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Blog   |   China, USA

An open plea: Xi and Obama can accomplish one thing

Dear President Xi and President Obama,

You will both have received many public and private letters of advice prior to your meeting on Friday and Saturday in California. They will urge you to take up specific issues ranging from military and trade concerns to human rights. That diversity of concern is an indicator of how complex the relationships between your two countries are. They lend themselves to no easy solutions, and it is doubtful there will be immediate, radical change when you and your teams conclude the talks. 

Blog   |   China

Anxiety for jailed Tibetan filmmaker as release nears

CPJ recognized jailed Tibetan filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen in 2012. (Michael Nagle/Getty Images for CPJ)

In a better world, it is usually a time for joy when a prisoner nears his or her release date. Jailed Tibetan journalists and their families do not live in that world. They live in a crueler place, where freedom is a distant mirage that might never be reached, and exhaustion or death is the reality.

May 24, 2013 11:57 AM ET

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Blog   |   China

In China, reporter's death sparks questions on censorship

Twenty-four-year-old Bai Lu was just four days into her new job as a journalist at the Urumqi Evening Post when she was killed. She and her colleague, Chen Aiying, were struck by a bulldozer while reporting at a major construction project on April 18 in the city of Urumqi in Xinjiang province. Chen was seriously injured.

Blog   |   China, Internet

China decrees use of foreign news must be approved

You have to wonder how this will be enforced, but China's State Administration of Press Publication, Radio, Film and Television has issued a "Notice on Strengthening Control of Media Personnel's Online Activities" (关于加强新闻采编人员网络活动管理的通知). Chinese media organizations have been told to stop posting foreign media news without government permission:  "Without authorization, no kind of media outlets shall arbitrarily use media release from overseas media agencies and media websites," is the way Caijing magazine translated it.

Blog   |   China

Zeng Li: A rueful look at how censorship works in China

A man reads the Southern Weekly cover story at a newsstand in Beijing on January 10. (Reuters/Jason Lee)

Three days into his retirement, Zeng Li (曾礼) died yesterday at age 61, apparently of intestinal bleeding. Surprisingly, his March 28 farewell letter has spread across China's social media sites and blogs. The letter is an apology, an explanation of sorts, and an admission of regret regarding the latter part of his career. Zeng served in Southern Weekly's internal censorship program--his title there most likely translates best as "news examiner."

April 4, 2013 6:53 PM ET

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Reports   |   China

Challenged in China

The shifting dynamics of censorship and control

As Xi Jinping takes office as president of China, the citizenry he governs is more sophisticated and interconnected than any before, largely because of the Internet. A complex digital censorship system--combined with a more traditional approach to media control, such as jailing journalists--keeps free expression in check. Repressive regimes worldwide look to China as a model, but Beijing's system of control is increasingly endangered. A special report by the Committee to Protect Journalists


March 11, 2013 6:00 PM ET

Reports   |   China, Multimedia

Video: A Chinese journalist's inside view of censorship

Journalist Liu Jianfeng worked in China’s state-controlled media for nearly two decades. Eventually, frustration with the system and pressure from his colleagues prompted him to quit. He continues to report on public issues such as land grabs, and hopes to find a new model for investigative journalism in China. Jonah Kessel reports. (11:10)

Read our accompanying special report, “Challenged in China,” on the shifting dynamics of censorship and media control.

March 11, 2013 5:59 PM ET

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Reports   |   China

Challenged in China

1. Beyond censors' reach, free expression thrives, to a point

By Sophie Beach

On March 24, 2012, investigative journalist Yang Haipeng posted on his Sina Weibo microblog a story he had heard that alleged a link between Neil Heywood, an English businessman who had been found dead in a Chongqing hotel, and Bo Xilai, the powerful Chongqing Communist Party chief. His post is widely recognized as the first significant public mention of a connection between the two men and it spread like wildfire online before being deleted the next day. A month later, Yang’s Sina Weibo account, which had 247,000 followers, was shut down.

Reports   |   China

Challenged in China

2. Although not explicit, legal threats to journalists persist

By Madeline Earp

Even as China’s virtual landscape buzzes with criticism of social injustices, government policy, and propaganda directives, independent journalism and expression are still perceived by the Communist Party as explicit political threats. Authorities also exploit vague legal language to prosecute dissenters based on published content, or bypass due process altogether, holding critics without charge or without notifying family members.

Reports   |   China

Challenged in China

3. Made in China: Models for media and censorship

By Danny O’Brien and Madeline Earp

As the founding editor, in 2005, of the Liberian online investigative news site FrontPage Africa, Rodney Sieh has fought off lawsuits, imprisonment, and death threats. In the face of such pressures, he has still managed to expand the website into one of Liberia’s best-selling daily newspapers, making him a leading figure in both new and traditional news media in the country. It’s not surprising then, that he was one of 17 prominent African journalists and publishers invited by the Chinese government to a three-week “News and Publishing Seminar in Developing Countries” last August in Beijing.

Reports   |   China

Internet usage in China

Over the past 10 years, China’s media environment has been transformed by the explosion of the Internet and, since 2010, the phenomenon of weibo, or microblogs, which now have more than 309 million users. Click through the slideshow to see how Internet use has evolved.

March 11, 2013 5:53 PM ET

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Reports   |   China

Journalists Imprisoned in China

China consistently imprisons dozens of journalists, usually under anti-state laws. The makeup of the prisoners has evolved with the rise of the Internet and as ethnic minorities are increasingly targeted amid unrest in prominently Tibetan and Uighur regions. Below, click on years and categories to see the journalists jailed from 2002-2012 and to group them by media, ethnicity, and charges.

March 11, 2013 5:52 PM ET

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Reports   |   China

Bo Xilai Scandal: How news breaks in China

Andy Wong/AP

Chinese censors worked overtime to squelch reports of the downfall of former Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai and the arrest of his wife on murder charges. But savvy journalists and Internet users stayed with the story and soon it commanded international headlines. Click through the timeline to see how a tightly censored story still made news in China.

March 11, 2013 5:51 PM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   China

Attacks on the Press in 2012: China

As the leadership handed over power to new Communist Party appointees in a November congress, censors aggressively blocked coverage of dissent, including reports on blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng's escape from house arrest. Coverage of corruption was tightly controlled in foreign and domestic media. The New York Times and Bloomberg News were censored domestically after they revealed the fortunes held by the families of top leaders, including the incoming president, Xi Jinping. The Foreign Ministry declined to renew the credentials of Al-Jazeera correspondent Melissa Chan, forcing her to leave Beijing amid troubling anti-foreign rhetoric. Authorities removed top executives at two outspoken domestic papers, Guangzhou's New Express and Shanghai's Oriental Morning Post. Internet users debated environmental disasters and the high-profile ouster of former leadership candidate Bo Xilai over a corruption and murder scandal, setting off fresh censorship and anti-rumor campaigns. China continued to jail a large number of online journalists, many of whom sought to cover issues affecting ethnic minorities. Two Tibetan writers were jailed in 2012 for documenting a debate on the preservation of Tibetan culture. CPJ honored jailed Tibetan filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen with an International Press Freedom Award in November.

February 14, 2013 12:05 AM ET

Blog   |   China, Internet, USA

Drawing lessons from Chinese attacks on US media

The Times reported in January that it had succeeded in expelling hackers from its computer systems. (AFP/Emmanuel Dunand)

Not every media company is as tempting a target for hackers as The New York Times, The Washington Post, or The Wall Street Journal. Not every company can afford high-priced computer security consultants, either. Is there anything that everyday reporters and their editors can learn about protecting themselves, based on the revelatory details the Times and other targets made public last week?

Blog   |   China, USA

NYT reports Chinese hacking: one battle in large war

The New York Times reported Thursday that, after four months, it has expelled what it believes to be China-based hackers from its computer system and has, so far, kept them from breaking back in. The paper said a group had been "infiltrating its computer systems and getting passwords for its reporters and other employees." The paper linked the attacks to a Times investigation, published in October, finding that the relatives of Prime Minister Wen Jiabao "had accumulated a fortune worth several billion dollars through business dealings."

Blog   |   China

Jailed Tibetan filmmaker shifted to better conditions

Some news which appears to be good from China, and some that isn't: Tibetan filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen has been moved to a women's prison where conditions are not as harsh, according to his friends and associates at the Switzerland based group Filming for Tibet. They say that Wangchen has been transferred to the Qinghai Provincial Women's Prison, the main prison for women in China's Qinghai province. He had been held at the Xichuan labor camp in Siling, in eastern Tibet.

January 22, 2013 2:49 PM ET

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Blog   |   China

In Southern Weekly versus censors, cautious optimism

A supporter of Southern Weekly newspaper outside its headquarters in Guangzhou holds banners reading, 'Support Southern Weekly. Protest intervention in media. Defend press freedom.' (AP/Vincent Yu)

There is cautious optimism among China media watchers this morning over the news that a deal has been struck between censors and protesting journalists at China's Southern Weekly news magazine, which is also known as Southern Weekend. The journalists will not face reprisals for their protest, and propaganda authorities will not repeat the editing stunt (which transformed a pro-reform New Year editorial into a tribute to the Communist Party) that sparked the dispute, according to The Associated Press.

January 9, 2013 5:47 PM ET

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Blog   |   China

In China, rebellion grows over Southern Weekly

Demonstrators gather near the headquarters of Southern Weekly newspaper in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, on Monday. (Reuters/James Pomfret)

In the past few days, Chinese journalists and their supporters have launched startlingly direct opposition to Communist Party rule, protesting a heavy-handed move by Guangdong's provincial propaganda department to unilaterally replace a Southern Weekly editorial on constitutionalism with pro-Party bromides. Defying censors' directives, media organizations around the country continue to post messages of support of Southern Weekly reporters who have gone on strike and called for the dismissal of provincial propaganda chief Tuo Zhen. It is the 21st century equivalent of carrying placards through Tiananmen Square.

Blog   |   China

Southern Weekly journalists air anger with Chinese censors

An editorial in the January 3 edition of Southern Weekly was changed from a call for constitutional rule into a tribute praising the Communist Party. (AP/Alexander F. Yuan)

Staffers at the Guangdong-based Southern Weekly magazine have publicly expressed their outrage at the heavy handed intervention of propaganda officials who unilaterally rewrote a New Year's editorial calling for improved constitutional rule in China. A piece extolling the virtues of the Communist Party ran in its place. Sixty staffers posted an open letter to the provincial government accusing propaganda officials of "raping" the paper's editorial procedures, The Associated Press reports. Apparently, the editorial was changed by censors after the magazine had closed and was being readied for the printer. Staff did not know of the changes until the piece appeared in print and online.

January 4, 2013 3:04 PM ET

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