The wives of two prominent Chinese dissidents have issued appeals on behalf of their ill or missing husbands.
Zeng Jinyan (曾金燕), who is married to cyber-dissident Hu Jia (胡佳), detained since December 2007 and suffering from cirrhosis of the liver, has appealed for his release on medical grounds. It is the seventh time she has asked for him to be freed.
Reporters Without Borders reiterates its call for Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo’s release and urges the US government to firmly raise the issue of media freedom with Chinese President Hu Jintao and his delegation during the visit to Washington that they are due to begin this evening.
Just four days ago, US secretary of state Hillary Clinton said: “America will continue to speak out and press China when it censors bloggers and imprisons activists, when religious believers, particularly those in unregistered groups, are denied full freedom of worship, when lawyers and legal advocates are sent to prison simply for representing clients who challenge the government’s positions.”
Reporters Without Borders hails Clinton’s statement and calls on the Obama administration to put these good intentions into action.
“China is the world’s biggest prison for journalists,” Reporters Without Borders said. “This is an opportunity to criticise censorship’s increasing hold over Chinese society and to ask President Hu Jintao directly to free Liu Xiaobo and the 106 journalists and netizens detained in China. The US government must seize this opportunity. This is how it can demonstrate its commitment to freedom of expression in China and elsewhere in the world.”
China’s Propaganda Department, which is under the direct orders of the country’s Communist Party, has marked the New Year with a series of directives to the media. Regarded as state secrets, they have been delivered by word of mouth to journalists at meetings where note-taking has been banned.
However, Reporters Without Borders has obtained details of the instructions:
They impose a blackout on social and economic problems with a view to “reassuring” the people and defending the concept of fair growth. Many issues are off-limits, so that the party line is not challenged. They include the property market, rising prices, corruption, the demolition of housing and compulsory relocation, residence permits, the absence of social security, inadequate transport during the Chinese New Year and popular discontent that finds expression in anti-government demonstrations.
Chinese journalists are to undergo six-month training courses that will teach them how to “eradicate false news, improve the feeling of social responsibility and reinforce journalistic ethics.”
“In short, to make journalists themselves actors in censorship,” Reporters Without Borders commented.
The initiative comes from the Propaganda department, directly linked to the Communist Party, and follows its announcement of 10 directives relating to the press in 2011.
Reporters Without Frontiers condemns this escalation in the control of information.
“The Propaganda Department shows itself to be ever more inventive in working out new directives to put pressure on journalists,” the press freedom organization said. “This training takes the form of banning among journalists any critical sprit and making out of them state employees in the service of state ideology.”
The uncle of journalist and human rights campaigner Hada has told the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC) that he has been authorized to meet recently his nephew.
Haschuluu said in a phone interview which was brutally cut off that the meeting had taken place in a location under military surveillance. Hada’s exact whereabouts remain unknown.