China Media Bulletin: Issue No. 88 | Freedom House

China Media Bulletin: Issue No. 88

CHINA MEDIA BULLETIN
Freedom House’s biweekly update of press freedom and censorship news related to the People’s Republic of China

Issue No. 88: June 13, 2013

HIGHLIGHTS
* Party outlets reject constitutionalism amid ideological clampdown
* Online censors seen testing new tactics before Tiananmen anniversary
* Officials’ evolving responses to pollution protests play out online and off
* Little progress on cybersecurity, human rights at Obama-Xi summit
* Chinese diplomats harass French journalist, TV station after Tibet report

Photo of the Week: Forbidden Fruit
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Credit: Offbeat China

OTHER HEADLINES
* Journalists assaulted by officials in Shaanxi Province
* Filmmaker, Falun Gong adherents detained for documenting torture
* People’s Daily Online faces backlash over anti-American series
* Recent arrests of online dissidents and social media users
* ‘iSun Affairs’ publisher Chen Ping beaten by thugs
* U.S. sets SoftBank-Sprint merger terms with Huawei concerns in mind
* Chinese president and first lady woo Latin American media

Printable Version

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BROADCAST / PRINT MEDIA NEWS

Party outlets reject constitutionalism amid ideological clampdown


In recent weeks, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) media outlets have pushed back against rising calls for genuine adherence to China’s constitution, which includes nominal guarantees of civil liberties like freedom of speech but is subordinated to party dictates in practice (see CMB No. 79). A May 21 editorial in the journal Red Flag Manuscript argued that constitutionalism is a feature of “capitalism and bourgeoisie dictatorship.” The party-owned newspaper Global Times also asserted that the concept would impede China’s development. On May 29, an article in the journal Party Construction claimed that constitutionalism would mean abolishing the CCP’s leadership role and overthrowing the “socialist regime.” Meanwhile, after reports emerged in early May that the CCP had issued a directive banning university classroom discussion on seven topics (see CMB No. 87), including civil liberties and constitutionalism, the Ministry of Education published a statement on May 27 ordering all universities to improve ideological training for young teachers. An unidentified ministry official cited in a May 28 article by the official Xinhua news agency explained that teachers below the age of 40 account for 60 percent of all teaching staff in Chinese universities, and that some lack discipline and ideological rigor. China analyst Bill Bishop has argued that the fresh emphasis on ideological controls is part of a broader effort by the new CCP leadership to brace the regime ahead of badly needed economic reforms.

* DW News 5/30/2013 (in Chinese): Central propaganda department: To carry out constitutionalism is to overthrow the Chinese Communist Party leadership and Chinese socialist government
* Washington Post 6/3/2013: China’s constitution debate hits a sensitive nerve
* Xinhua 5/28/2013: Universities urged to enhance ideological work for young teachers
* New York Times 5/28/2013: Tamping down expectations on China’s growth

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Journalists assaulted by officials in Shaanxi Province

Journalists were attacked in three separate incidents in Shaanxi Province on May 29 and 30. The first assault occurred on May 29, after a journalist identified as Feng, from the newspaper Shaanxi Science and Technology Views, refused to accept a bribe to curb his investigation of an illegal land eviction in Yulin City, Yuyang District. Two men with a knife allegedly attacked Feng, who incurred several injuries, during a meeting with the deputy minister of the local propaganda department. On May 30, two journalists from New West magazine were reportedly attacked by several officers and the director of the Department of Land and Resources as they investigated an illegal gold-mining operation in Weinan City. One of the journalists was reportedly punched in the head by the director, who told the pair, “Do we have to report to media about what are we doing? We have rights not to answer your questions. I could make you die today.” In a third incident, two television journalists were allegedly attacked by the headmaster and deputy headmaster of a vocational school while they were investigating a student complaint. Physical assaults against journalists have been increasing in recent years, but they often involve unidentified attackers whose connections to the authorities are suspected rather than overt. The transparent participation of officials in some of the recent incidents is an indication of the impunity that generally prevails after such assaults.

* IFJ 6/3/2013: IFJ condemns series of attacks on journalists in Shaanxi Province

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Filmmaker, Falun Gong adherents detained for documenting torture

Du Bin, a Chinese journalist who had previously worked as a freelance photographer for the New York Times, was detained in Beijing on May 31 for “disturbing public order.” He was taken from his apartment by more than 10 police officers. Du had recently published a book in Hong Kong on the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, and released a documentary film featuring over a dozen former inmates of the notorious Masanjia reeducation-through-labor camp. The women describe gruesome torture and sexual abuse, with some methods even more severe than those covered in a hard-hitting investigative report by Lens Magazine in April (see CMB No. 87). According to prominent Beijing-based activist Hu Jia, the filmmaker was being held at a detention center in Beijing’s Fengtai district, but Du’s sister reported that as of June 11 the family had not been formally notified of his whereabouts. Separately, on June 4, the official Xinhua news agency reported that 16 adherents of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement were detained at a residence in Qingdao, Shandong Province, in early May. The agency said they were being held for producing photos depicting reenacted scenes of torture with the intent of posting them on the internet. The article stated that those arrested had red-colored fluids on their bodies, quoting one participant as attesting that the images showed “what it is like in prison.” The article was unusual for its departure from Chinese state media’s general taboo on discussing Falun Gong or the human rights abuses suffered by its practitioners. It may have been an effort to discredit the reports of torture suffered by Falun Gong adherents in camps such as Masanjia. Xinhua identified the leader of the detained individuals as Lu Xueqin. According to the 2009 report of the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China and Chinese-language overseas websites, Lu had been permanently paralyzed after a severe beating by Qingdao police in March of that year, indicating that those arrested in the raid included genuine torture survivors.

* South China Morning Post 6/11/2013: Independent filmmaker Du Bin disappears in Beijing
* Radio Free Asia 6/11/2013: Masanjia filmmaker held in Beijing over ‘illegal publishing’
* YouTube 5/4/2013: Above the Ghosts’ Heads: The women of Masanjia labor camp
* Xinhua 6/4/2013: 16 Falun Gong practitioners arrested
* CECC 10/1/2009: Annual Report 2009
* Secret China 3/9/2009 (in Chinese): Falun Gong practitioners to be tried in Qingdao, Lu Xueqin paralyzed after torture

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NEW MEDIA / TECHNOLOGY NEWS

Online censors seen testing new tactics before Tiananmen anniversary

 
In what has become an annual ritual, Chinese internet portals and websites stepped up censorship in the days surrounding the June 4 anniversary of the 1989 crackdown on prodemocracy protesters in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, though with some slight changes this year. On the eve of the anniversary, the blog GreatFire.org reported that the popular microblogging platform Sina Weibo was apparently experimenting with a new approach to censoring relevant content posted by its users. For several days beginning on May 31, search queries for politically sensitive terms yielded either a standard error message or seemingly “harmless” results about unrelated issues or other historical events that took place on Tiananmen Square. There was no message indicating to users that certain results were being omitted, meaning the censorship was essentially invisible. GreatFire.org offered an impressive follow-up analysis of the implications of this method if it were to be fully adopted in the future (see link below). However, beginning on June 3, the relevant searches once again produced the earlier message: “Results cannot be displayed due to regulations.” As in past years, according to China Digital Times, blocked search terms included oblique references to June 4 such as “35” (as in “May 35”) or “TAM” (for “Tiananmen”). More mundane words like “today” and “tomorrow” were also blocked, as was the candle emoticon. Some new terms were added to this year’s censored list, including “big yellow duck,” a reference to a popular doctored version of the famous Tiananmen “Tank Man” photograph in which the column of tanks halted by a single civilian are replaced by four giant rubber ducks. The online encyclopedia Wikipedia was reportedly inaccessible, though its unencrypted Chinese-language version with missing information about various sensitive topics was still available. After activists called for people to commemorate the anniversary by wearing black, searches for the term “black shirt” were blocked. According to Chinese Human Rights Defenders, authorities around the country restricted the movements of known activists and blocked entrances to cemeteries, while Gu Yimin, a Jiangsu-based online activist, was detained on charges of “incitement to subvert state power,” after he reportedly refused to delete a photo of June 4 from his account on Tencent QQ. Despite the censorship efforts, many prominent Weibo users commemorated the anniversary by taking a 24-hour break from posting, while others referenced the crackdown before their posts were scrubbed by censors. “Don’t worry about forgetfulness—at least the Sina censors remember,” wrote prominent film director Jia Zhanke.
 
* GreatFire.org 5/31/2013: Sina testing subtle censorship ahead of Tiananmen anniversary
* GreatFire.org 6/3/2013: China’s internet: Now a giant invisible cage
* Guardian 6/4/2013: Tiananmen Square online searches censored by Chinese authorities
* China Digital Times 6/3/2013: Sensitive words: 24th anniversary of Tiananmen
* Hollywood Reporter 6/3/2013: China blocks uncensored version of Wikipedia ahead of Tiananmen Square anniversary
* Tea Leaf Nation 6/3/2013: China’s prominent Weiborati speak out on even of Tiananmen anniversary
* Radio Free Asia 6/4/2013: Chinese activist held for posting Tiananmen photo online
* China Human Rights Defenders 5/31/2013: China human rights briefing, May 24–30, 2013

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People’s Daily Online faces backlash over anti-American series

People’s Daily Online, the website of the Chinese Communist Party’s official newspaper, published a series of three articles from March to May that claimed to present a “more objective picture” of the American people. An editor’s note accompanying the English-language version of the so-called “Dishonest Americans Series” explained that the general impression of Americans as being “honest, reliable, and righteous” could be misleading. The note with the somewhat more hostile Chinese version, whose title translated as “Immoral and Dishonest Americans,” said the column was meant to show the “other side” of Americans. The three articles included anecdotes about a locksmith in New Jersey who demanded some $800 to change two locks, a United Airlines employee who stopped a passenger from boarding an overbooked flight, and a payroll company that stole money from a client. The series, which initially drew little attention, generated a flurry of criticism from Chinese netizens after a number of major Chinese media outlets reported on it in late May. “But we all know how many immoral and dishonest governments there are in the world—and we don’t need a column to tell us,” said Beijing scholar Wu Zuolai. Another netizen commented, “I suggest they run a series called Dishonest Party Members and Dishonest Officials, they’d have a lot more to choose from.” In response to the outrage, People’s Daily Online switched the title of the series to “The Americans You Don’t Know.” However, after continued backlash, the title of the series was removed entirely from both the English and Chinese versions. Chinese internet users have reacted with similar skepticism to past examples of xenophobic sentiment in state media (see CMB No. 59).

* Business Insider 5/30/2013: Chinese state newspaper faces backlash over ‘dishonest Americans’ article
* South China Morning Post 5/25/2013: Outrage after People’s Daily’s ‘dishonest Americans’ column goes viral
* New York Times 5/30/2013: In China, second thoughts about ‘dishonest Americans’ column
* People’s Daily Online 3/16/2013: Pricy locksmith
* People’s Daily Online 3/14/2013 (in Chinese): Pricy locksmith
 
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Recent arrests of online dissidents and social media users

- Dissident writer held for ‘picking quarrels’: One of China’s best-known cyberdissidents, Du Daobin, was detained in Beijing on June 5 on suspicion of “picking quarrels and stirring up trouble” on social media sites, according to his lawyer. Du had been arrested in 2003 for writing on overseas websites about the crackdown on the Falun Gong spiritual movement and the need for political reform. He received a suspended sentence and was confined to his home in 2004, then jailed from 2008 until late 2010 after publishing additional articles overseas (see CMB No. 4).

- Arrests for ‘rumors’ on migrant worker’s death: Police have reportedly arrested at least 13 people for “spreading rumors” online in connection with a protest over the alleged gang rape and murder of a 22-year-old woman, migrant worker Yuan Liya, in Beijing on May 3 (see CMB No. 87). On May 8, hundreds of protesters had gathered outside the Jingwen Market, where Yuan’s body was found, to demand a new police investigation after authorities deemed her death a suicide. Yuan’s boyfriend, identified as Peng, was reportedly one of the 13 people arrested. He was accused of fabricating the rape and murder allegations, having insisted that his girlfriend was not suicidal and called on police to reopen the case.

- Activist detained after live-blogging home invasion: Women’s rights activist Ye Haiyan was arrested on May 30 after being accused of attacking several people with a cleaver in her home. She was released after 13 days of administrative detention. Ye, who has worked to combat child abuse and defend the rights of sex workers, said she had defended herself while being physically attacked by people who invaded her home in Bobai, Guangxi Province. She used her Sina Weibo microblogging account to call for help during the incident, writing at one point, “Now there are four or five women in my home, beating me.” On the day of the attack, Ye had just returned from a protest against the molestation of elementary school students on nearby Hainan Island. When she was released on June 12, approximately 100 people gathered outside her apartment building, shouting insults and demanding that she leave the county. Ye live-blogged that incident as well, which she linked to broader pressure from local authorities to drive her out.

* Radio Free Asia 6/6/2013: Chinese dissident held for 'picking quarrels' after tweets
* Australian 5/23/2013: China net crackdown crushes rape protest
* Sydney Global Times 5/22/2013 (in Chinese): Boyfriend of Anhui girl arrested for “spreading rumor” about her “mysterious death”
* New York Times 6/7/2013: Detention of critic of child abuse draws ire in China
* Tea Leaf Nation 6/12/2013: Online and offline worlds collide as a women’s rights activist returns home

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Officials’ evolving responses to pollution protests play out online and off
 

Officials in the southwestern city of Kunming sent mixed signals to residents following a May 16 protest against a new state-owned petrochemical plant in nearby Anning, promising transparency while using various online and offline methods to prevent further demonstrations. The May 16 gathering, which drew an estimated 2,000 people, followed an initial protest on May 4. Opponents of the plant called for its cancellation or relocation amid fears that it would release paraxylene (PX), a suspected carcinogen. The protesters wore facemasks (to prevent their identification) and white T-shirts, and carried printed banners with slogans like “We want to be healthy! PX project, get out of Kunming!” Despite a heavy police presence, the demonstration passed peacefully, though a small number of people were reportedly arrested. Netizens posted photos of the event online, while the city’s mayor spoke to the crowd, promising greater transparency and public consultations. The following day, he opened a microblog account on Sina Weibo, which drew 8,000 followers within an hour. However, both before and after the protest, authorities took measures to deter such assemblies, particularly in the run-up to the June 6–10 China–South Asia Expo in the city. Ahead of the May 16 demonstration, several local activists were “invited to tea” with police. And according to directives leaked online, on the day of the event, the Central Propaganda Department and State Internet Information Office instructed media not to report on it and social media sites to remove related “text, video, and images.” Over the following week, local authorities banned bulk purchases of facemasks and white T-shirts. The Southern Metropolis Daily reported that several shops had begun requesting identification from customers seeking to make photocopies. Similar reports of facemask buyers being asked for ID in Anning sparked a public outcry, prompting the government to end the practice. Meanwhile, according to the South China Morning Post, police conducted a “live drill” with armored vehicles as a show of force, and authorities sent a text message to local residents warning that “behavior that … sabotages the China–South Asia Expo will be cracked down on.” However, officials also promised on June 3 to release an impact assessment on the planned chemical plant. The measures as a whole appeared to succeed in preventing further protests, but they were less conciliatory than the responses to past cases of large-scale protests against PX plants in Xiamen, Dalian, and Ningbo in recent years, in which officials backtracked or promised to relocate the facilities (see CMB Nos. 64, 73). Officials in Chengdu responded even more stringently to potential protests in early May, placing activists under house arrest and sending warning leaflets to households.
 
* Guardian 5/16/2013: Chinese protesters take to streets in Kunming over plans for chemical plant
* South China Morning Post 5/17/2013: Kunming mayor stays true to his promise and opens microblog account
* China Digital Times 5/16/2013: Kunming environmental protest
* Shanghai Daily 5/30/2013: Authorities rescind order to hush protesters
* China Digital Times 5/6/2013: Anatomy of two protests: Kunming vs. Chengdu
* South China Morning Post 5/27/2013: Kunming restrics face mask and T-shirt sales ‘to prevent more environmental protests’
* Southern Metropolis Daily 5/27/2013 (in Chinese): White T-shirts allegedly banned from selling in Kunming, printing requires real name registration
* South China Morning Post 5/20/2013: Governments toughen stance on environmental protesters amid Kunming, Chengdu actions

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HONG KONG

‘iSun Affairs’ publisher Chen Ping beaten by thugs

 
Chen Ping, the founder and publisher of the Hong Kong–based weekly magazine iSun Affairs, was beaten on June 3 near his office by two club-wielding men. iSun Affairs, which is banned in mainland China, is known for its outspoken reporting on issues—including minority rights in Tibet and Xinjiang—that are deemed sensitive by the Chinese authorities. In January, the magazine carried an interview with Lew Mon-hung, a prominent former ally of Hong Kong chief executive Leung Chun-ying who accused Leung of lying to the media about a scandal involving illegal construction at his home, among other allegations. Chen suggested at a June 5 press conference that the attack, which caused injuries to his head, chest, and arms, was orchestrated by Chinese authorities. “Maybe I offended a few people in the Chinese Communist Party regime,” he said. On May 23, iSun Affairs had announced that it was suspending its print edition, which debuted in October 2012 (see CMB No. 72). Chen denied being put under political pressure himself, but said several of the magazine’s editors and reporters had been summoned for questioning by Chinese police (see CMB No. 86).

* Epoch Times 6/10/2013: Prominent Hong Kong media owner, Chen Ping, beaten in street
* South China Morning Post 6/5/2013: Assault of publisher is attack on press freedom, says iSun Affairs magazine
* South China Morning Post 6/3/2013: iSun Affairs publisher Chen Ping beaten by baton-wielding thugs
* iSunAffairs 6/7/2013 (in Chinese): iSun Affairs publisher Chen Ping assault incident press conference Q&A

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BEYOND CHINA

U.S. sets SoftBank-Sprint merger terms with Huawei concerns in mind


The U.S. telecommunications provider Sprint announced on May 29 that it had reached an agreement with the government to assuage security concerns surrounding the company’s planned $20 billion takeover by Tokyo-based SoftBank and both firms’ use of network equipment made by China’s Huawei (see CMB No. 84). Under the agreement, Sprint must form a four-member committee to focus on national security issues at the company, including a board member, all of whom would need government approval. Sprint will also apparently be required to remove Huawei-supplied equipment from the network of its wireless affiliate, Clearwire, which Sprint is poised to acquire outright. The SoftBank-Sprint takeover still awaits approval from the Federal Communications Commission, and from Sprint shareholders, who are scheduled to vote on June 25. Sprint announced on June 7 that it would appoint Mike Mullen, a retired admiral and former chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, to serve as its new national security director. The House Intelligence Committee had found in an October 2012 report that expansion into the United States by Huawei could further expose the country to electronic espionage due to the company’s close ties to the Chinese authorities. Several analysts noted that the degree of U.S. government involvement in the SoftBank-Sprint deal had set a new precedent and would likely cause other companies planning acquisitions to self-scrutinize the sources of their supply chain. In an interview with Bloomberg, Huawei spokesman William Plummer said the exclusion of his firm’s gear was a “non-remedy,” because the supply chains of all major global equipment vendors are subject to common global vulnerabilities.

* Bloomberg 5/29/2013: Huawei loser in SoftBank-Sprint deal over alleged spying
* Wall Street Journal 5/29/2013: SoftBank-Sprint deal clears security hurdle
* The Hill 6/7/2013: Mike Mullen to serve as Sprint security director
* Reuters 6/10/2013: SoftBank raises Sprint offer, shareholder vote delayed

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Little progress on cybersecurity, human rights at Obama-Xi summit

Less than two weeks before a two-day informal summit in California between U.S. president Barack Obama and Chinese president Xi Jinping, the Washington Post reported on May 27 that Chinese hackers had obtained sensitive design details for over two dozen crucial U.S. weapons systems, including missile defenses and fighter jets. Beijing continued to deny any involvement in such hacking while asserting that it too was a victim of cyberattacks (see CMB No. 84). Obama acknowledged that cybersecurity concerns would be among the main points of discussion during the June 7–8 summit, but later media reports indicated that little progress had been made. Although Obama reportedly told Xi privately that continued state-backed cybertheft was an “inhibitor” to the bilateral relationship, the U.S. leader softened his language in a statement to the press following the summit, downplaying the Chinese government’s connection to hacking and noting that computer breaches often involved “nonstate actors.” Human rights issues, including China’s censorship system, appeared to be low on the agenda, though Obama said at a press conference before the meeting that he would “continue to emphasize the importance of human rights.” Freedom House joined several other groups and prominent individuals in publishing a joint letter to Obama on June 5, urging him to ask for the release of 16 well-known prisoners of conscience in China. Beijing’s actions surrounding the summit sent mixed signals regarding human rights. In what some described as a minor concession before the meeting, China granted passports to the brother and mother of blind human rights activist Chen Guangcheng, who is currently in exile in the United States. However, within hours of the California meeting’s conclusion, a Chinese court sentenced Liu Hui, the brother-in-law of jailed democracy advocate and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, to 11 years in prison for fraud after what was widely perceived as a politically motivated prosecution (see CMB No. 86).

* Washington Post 5/27/2013: Confidential report lists U.S. weapons system designs compromised by Chinese cyberspies
* Xinhua 5/30/2013: Hacking accusations erroneous: Chinese defense spokesman
* NBC 6/7/2013: Obama takes diplomatic tack on Chinese cyberespionage charges
* China Digital Times 6/8/2013: Obama, Xi discuss climate change and cybersecurity
* Freedom House 6/5/2013: Letter to President Obama calls for release of Chinese prisoners of conscience
* White House Office of the Press Secretary 6/07/2013: Remarks by President Obama and President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China before bilateral meeting
* New York Times 6/07/2013: 2 relatives of dissident get passports from China
* Reuters 6/07/2013: Cyber disputes loom large as Obama meets China’s Xi
* Guardian 6/09/2013: Liu Xiaobo brother-in-law jailed

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Chinese diplomats harass French journalist, TV station after Tibet report

The French television news outlet France 24 has reported that both the station and one of its journalists were harassed and threatened by Chinese diplomats after it aired a brief documentary titled “Seven Days in Tibet.” The piece, which journalist Cyril Payen filmed undercover during a seven-day visit to Tibet on a tourist visa (as journalists are barred from the region), was aired on May 30. It included footage of security cameras, a heightened police presence, and local Tibetans complaining about the lack of freedom (see CMB No. 71). Soon after, Chinese embassy officials in Paris allegedly went to France 24’s headquarters and met with its chief executive, Marc Saikali. They were said to have denounced the documentary and demanded that it be removed from the station’s website. France 24 refused. According to Reporters Without Borders, on June 4, Payen, who was travelling in Bangkok, received a phone call from the Chinese embassy in Thailand that urged him to come for a meeting as soon as possible. When Payen said he would only agree to meet at a hotel, the Chinese diplomats rejected the offer, and Payen reportedly received dozens of anonymous calls and text messages over the following days, some of which were overtly threatening. One message demanded that he meet at the embassy that day or else “take the responsibility” for the consequences. Over the past two years, foreign correspondents in China have faced increasing assaults and threats of visa denials (see CMB No. 82). In addition, Chinese diplomats have repeatedly sought to curb artistic expression at foreign film festivals, book fairs, or small exhibits (see, inter alia, CMB Nos. 54, 62, 68), and occasionally pressure news outlets outside China to halt reports that are critical of Chinese rule in Tibet or address other sensitive topics, although such interference ostensibly violates diplomatic protocols.

* Reporters Without Borders 6/11/2013: Chinese diplomats threaten French journalist after Tibet report
* France 24 6/12/2013: China intimidates France 24 reporter over Tibet film
* China Digital Times 5/21/2013: France 24: Seven days in Tibet

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Chinese president and first lady woo Latin American media
 

On May 31, Chinese president Xi Jinping and his wife, Peng Liyuan, began a three-nation Latin American tour, with stops in Trinidad and Tobago, Costa Rica, and Mexico. Before the trip, Xi gave an interview in Beijing that was provided to media in the three countries, some of which published it in full (see CMB No. 49). In Mexico, the media’s reaction to Xi was largely positive, but his wife—a popular former folk singer and fluent speaker of English—appeared more successful in winning over local journalists (see CMB No. 83), who commented on her choice of clothing and affinity for Spanish-language soap operas, as well as her trips to venues like the Mexican broadcaster Televisa, a children’s hospital, and Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza. Back home, after a photo of Peng using an iPhone 5 to take photographs of the ruins went viral on Chinese microblogging platform Sina Weibo, the site began censoring searches for terms and phrases relating to the incident, including “Peng + cell phone,” “Peng + apple,” and “first lady + iPhone.” The photo was apparently considered sensitive because of the irony of Peng’s implied endorsement of the U.S. technology firm Apple, which has suffered repeated attacks by Chinese state media in recent months (see CMB No. 87).
 
* Xinhua 5/31/2013: President Xi Jinping gives a joint written interview to the media of Trinidad and Tobago, Costa Rica and Mexico
* TNT Finder 5/31/2013: China’s Xi: ‘Friend afar brings distant land near’
* Telegraph 6/02/2013: China’s first lady Peng Liyuan steals the show in Latin America 
* International Business Times 6/7/2013: Xi Jinping leaves Mexico; Mexican media react to China’s president visit
* South China Morning Post 6/06/2013: Peng Liyuan charms Mexico with her fondness for local soap operas
* China.org.cn 6/05/2013: Peng Liyuan visits children’s hospital in Mexico
* China Digital Times 6/09/2013: Sensitive Words: Peng Liyuan’s iPhone and more