Freedom House Condemns Chinese Authorities’ Crackdown on Foreign Media | Freedom House

Freedom House Condemns Chinese Authorities’ Crackdown on Foreign Media

Washington

Freedom House condemns the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) deepening repression of foreign journalists. Recent violent attacks and restrictions on journalists’ freedom of movement threaten to further skew coverage of important issues and limit the outside world’s ability to follow developments in China at a critical time.
 
Over the last two weeks, foreign journalists have been subjected to different forms of harassment by the authorities in an effort to prevent or restrict coverage of planned protests emulating recent antigovernment protests in the Middle East.  Journalists have been beaten and interrogated, as well as forced to submit written apologies for filming “without official permission.”  They have also been threatened with expulsion from the country and told to “stay away” from potential protest sites. Such orders contravene revised regulations in place since the Beijing Olympics that allow foreign reporters to travel freely in China, except in Tibet.  Though the new restrictions have not been formally announced by the CCP, reporters are learning of them as they attempt to cover stories. (For further details on this and other media developments, please see the most recent edition of Freedom House’s China Media Bulletin).
 
“Sadly, foreign correspondents are now experiencing what is already a day-to-day reality for Chinese journalists and activists,” said David J. Kramer, executive director of Freedom House. “The authorities are seeking to pull down a curtain over important events unfolding in China. Western news organizations and editors must redouble their commitment to back their journalists in covering tough, sensitive stories in this inhospitable environment.”
 
The intensive pressure on foreign media only deepens the profound lack of transparency that afflicts the Chinese system. It constricts the flow of information from China at a time when a growing number of Chinese citizens have been arbitrarily detained and are at risk of torture. Since the unrest in the Middle East began, Chinese authorities have stepped up efforts to crack down on any show of Chinese support for the protesters. Several human rights lawyers have reportedly been arrested and authorities have detained as many as 100 activists. This week, several internet users who relayed recent appeals for street protests on microblogs like Twitter or domestic social-networking sites like QQ were detained on charges of “subversion of state power,” an offense that typically draws jail terms of between 3 and 15 years.
 
“Given the degree of Communist Party control over the media and judiciary, international exposure of human rights abuses is one of the few safeguards victims have,” Kramer added. “It is vital that those arrested in this crackdown not be deprived of even that limited protection.”
 
China is ranked Not Free in Freedom in the World 2011, Freedom House's survey of political rights and civil liberties, and Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2010.
 
For more information on China, visit:
 
 
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights. 

Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

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