Yesterday was my first time to Shenyang city. And it was the first time I was so “warmly” welcomed by Shenyang people that I almost slept on the street last night.
I was very tired after I had done my business yesterday and wanted to check in a hotel, yet I ended up finding no single hotel that would accommodate me after three hours searching. When I called a hotel in advance, they all claimed that they had vacant rooms. But when I showed up at the reception desk, all the hotel receptionists would say upfront that they didn’t receive anyone from Xinjiang. They would still reject me even after I showed all my IDs. I asked them who had set up the rule and they replied that it was the Public Security Bureau. It was so unfair!
While the general trend in China is toward a more open environment, there is a tendency toward "soft harassment" by police, who threaten retribution to sources and news assistants for helping foreign journalists rather than interfering directly with the journalists themselves.
This was the assessment of two journalists at a roundtable in Washington today. The panel on reporting in China, organized by the Congressional Executive Commission on China, included Jocelyn Ford, freelance journalist and former chair of Media Freedoms Committee, Foreign Correspondents' Club of China, and Kathleen McLaughlin, China correspondent for BNA and the club's current Media Freedoms Committee chair.
The two described the latest trends in a reporting environment that changes so rapidly it frequently makes the news in its own right. They talked about the need to protect sources and said that foreign correspondents in China should learn to "read the tea leaves" in an unpredictable environment: Journalists need to pay attention to how they communicate and recognize the likelihood that they will be monitored by officials.
Dr. Liu Xiaobo, board member and former president of the Independent
Chinese PEN Center (ICPC), was taken away from home by police on 8th
December 2008 for his involvement in drafting “Charter 08” and
launching a signature campaign. Since then he has been detained under
“residential surveillance” by Beijing authorities without charge and
unlawfully kept in an unknown place away from his family who has been
so far allowed to see him only twice.
The lawyer for a prominent Chinese writer secretly detained six months
ago called on authorities Monday to free his client or formally charge
While the whole world commemorates the 20th anniversary of the violent
suppression of the pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square, the
Chinese Independent Pen Association appeals to the Chinese government
to respect and protect the boundaries of individual rights and stop
detaining and holding under house arrest numerous of our Mainland