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China

Blog   |   China, Germany, Internet, Russia, USA

Deciding who decides which news is fake

White House press secretary Sean Spicer talks to the media during the daily briefing. President Trump and his administration have accused critical outlets of being fake news. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Authorities decry the proliferation of misinformation and propaganda on the internet, and technology companies are wrestling with various measures to combat fake news. But addressing the problem without infringing on the right to free expression and the free flow of information is extremely thorny.

Blog   |   China

In China, sources face harassment, jail for speaking to foreign media

A passerby reads newspapers posted on a bulletin board in Beijing. Some foreign correspondents in China say they are finding it hard to find citizens willing to be interviewed. (AFP/Teh Eng Koon)

Zhang Lifan is a Beijing-based historian specializing in modern Chinese history. He is also an outspoken critic of the Chinese government who is interviewed regularly by the foreign press--even when it leads to harassment from officials. Last month alone, he was quoted in a New York Times article about the government revising the length of a war with Japan in history books, The Washington Post and Bloomberg in reports on President Xi Jinping's visit to the World Economic Forum in Davos, The Associated Press on a story about U.S. President Donald Trump's inaugural speech, and by Voice of America in a piece on the government's crackdown on news websites.

Blog   |   China

Hong Kong journalists try range of models to battle press freedom challenges

Tourists photograph Hong Kong's skyline. A group of new websites has emerged in the city to counter the restrictive climate for the press. (Anthony Wallace/AFP)

A new Chinese-language website pledging to provide Hong Kong with "independent, accurate and fair" news is the latest journalism venture to open in the city, in an attempt to counter increasing Chinese control of the media. Citizen News was launched January 1 by a group of journalists, including Kevin Lau Chun-to and Daisy Li Yuet-wah, who say they plan to cover a wide range of issues and views across the political spectrum.

Blog   |   China

Weighing China jailed cases amid censorship and fear

A screen shot shows Shen Hao's tearful 'confession' on Chinese state television channel CCTV. The former chairman of 21st Century Media was sentenced to four years in prison for extortion.

My native China is consistently among the world's worst jailers of journalists. This year, it has been eclipsed by Turkey, which is holding a record number of journalists behind bars. But since CPJ began conducting an annual census in 1990, China has topped the ignoble list 18 times.

Blog   |   China

In China, foreign correspondents continue to face harassment, restrictions

Conditions for foreign correspondents in China remain difficult, with journalists reporting cases of harassment, surveillance, and restrictions on where they can work, according to findings by the Foreign Correspondents' Club of China.

Blog   |   China, Ivory Coast, Mexico, Pakistan

Protecting journalists who cover corruption is good for the bottom line

Number of journalists who covered corruption who were killed in relation to their work since 1992, by country. (Mehdi Rahmati/CPJ research)

Corruption is one of the most dangerous beats for journalists, and one of the most important for holding those in power to account. There is growing international recognition that corruption is also one of the biggest impediments to poverty reduction and good governance. This is why journalists on this beat must be protected, including by multilateral lending institutions such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, which just concluded their annual meetings in Washington D.C.

Blog   |   China

Criticism and jokes off limits ahead of G20 summit in Hangzhou, China

An empty refrigerator at a convenience store at West Lake, in Hangzhou, China, on August 31 bears a sign that reads 'During G20, beverages and dairy products are not allowed to be purchased and are sold out. Thanks.' Authorities have ordered the media not to report on inconveniences caused by the summit. (Reuters/Aly Song)

The city of Yuyao, in China's Zhejiang province, is 70 miles away from Hangzhou, where leaders of the world's 20 leading economies will gather September 4 and 5 for the annual G20 summit. Nonetheless, on August 26, democracy activist You Jingyou and his wife were subject to extra security checks at the train station in Yuyao, where they went to board a train to their home of Fuzhou, in Fujian province--a train that would not even pass by Hangzhou.

Blog   |   China

As Beijing tightens grip on Hong Kong media, mainland journalists suffer

A cover of Time magazine on display in Hong Kong, July 22, 2016, features portraits of Chinese leader Xi Jinping and former leader Mao Zedong. (AP/Vincent Yu)

On August 1, prominent Chinese human rights lawyer Wang Yu, who had been detained incommunicado for over a year, reemerged--with an unusual twist on an old script. Wang gave a TV interview in which she renounced her legal work and accused foreign forces of using her to "attack" and "smear" the Chinese government; the report claimed she'd just been released on bail. The public statement of guilt without trial is part of an established pattern in China, with more than a dozen such "confessions" delivered by human rights activists, journalists, and writers. But this time, the state-owned China Central Television (CCTV) failed to play a role. Instead, the interview was carried by a website affiliated with the Hong Kong newspaper Oriental Daily.

Blog   |   China

China shuts down internet reporting as Xi's sensitivity begins to resemble lèse-majesté

A Chinese security officer holds the media rope as U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice, background left, and Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, are seated for photographers at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on July 25, 2016. Xi's increasing intolerance of negative coverage has approached a kind of lèse-majesté. (AP/How Hwee Young)

On July 1, popular internet portal Tencent, in its original news reporting section, published an article on a speech that President Xi Jinping gave the same day at a conference celebrating the 95th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party. One line of the article read, "Xi Jinping outburst an important speech." To any reader who speaks Chinese, the sentence clearly included a typo and its meaning was, "Xi Jinping delivered an important speech."

Blog   |   China

China's information and internet controls will only tighten under Xu Lin

Chinese President Xi Jinping, center, talks with Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, right, as Lu Wei, left, China's Internet czar, looks on at Microsoft's main campus in Redmond, Washington, on September 23, 2015. Lu Wei left the Cyberspace Administration of China at the end of June. (AP/Ted S. Warren)

When the new director of the Cyberspace Administration of China, Xu Lin, issued on July 3 a warning that websites not report unverified content drawn from social media without facing possible punishment, it was clear that Beijing would move quickly beyond the Lu Wei era of information control. The announcement demanded that news websites provide "correct guidance for public opinion"--correct, clearly, in the eyes of the Cyberspace Administration, and ultimately the Chinese Communist Party. The warnings suggest that the harsh controls implemented by Lu could become even more severe.

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