“China’s Reporters are Dancing in Shackles”

Leave it to the Epoch Times to slam Chinese media in just the right way. Following ‘Journalist Day,’ they’ve collected quite a bit from Chinese journalists on their reaction to the celebrations, and a list of recently attacked journalists:

Among numerous official celebrations and propaganda pieces that filled Chinese media on Chinese Journalist Day, the most noteworthy one was a directive by the heads of propaganda departments of local communist Party offices, which reiterated the importance of journalists “firmly grasping the correct direction of public opinion.”

Another example of a Journalist Day message was being spread from the regime controlled Tibet Radio: “We must thoroughly expose and criticize the reactionary nature of the Dalai [Lama] group, seize the Internet to combat the high ground of public opinion on Tibet, [and] control the outreach media initiatives.”

And what were Chinese journalists saying on that day?

“Another Journalist Day, and media technology has been continuously advancing, but there are not many journalists with moral values left,” a reporter from China’s Yahoo News center said on Weibo.com, China’s largest microblogging site.

Cao Lin, editor of China Youth Daily, said: “On previous Journalist Days, we used to ask for press freedom and protection from violence against reporters. This year, we will strive for the right to reject fake news. In order to not publish fake news, the first thing is to reject news templates approved by authorities, which are used to manipulate public opinion and silence different voices. They are the start of fake news reports.”

“The job of the press and electronic media [in China] is to promote the government, not to report the truth,” Chinese author Murong Xuecun said in a recent speech at the Oslo House of Literature, reprinted by the Sydney Morning Herald on Nov. 25.

Reporting the truth that makes the regime look bad comes with a high price in China. Journalists face being fired or being physically attacked in the streets.

Reporters Without Borders’ (RSF) 2010 world press index placed China 8th from the last of 178 countries and regions surveyed. In Nov. 2010, 31 journalists and 75 netizens were detained in China, which is on the RSF list of “Enemies of the Internet” and is ranked 171st out of 178 countries in its latest world press index, RSF said on its website.

In September, Southern Metropolis reporter Ji Xuguang, who broke the sex slave scandal in Luoyang City, was harassed and threatened by local officials. Ji was accused of disclosing “state secrets.” He asked for help via Weibo and escaped Luoyang City with his wife and his brother. Ji is said to have scars all over his body from violence he encountered during the ten years of his career as a reporter.

In July the investigative news department of China Economics Times, where celebrated Chinese journalist Wang Keqin worked, was closed down.

On May 12, the third anniversary of the Sichuan Earthquake, Southern Metropolis published an article criticizing shoddy construction of buildings–referred to as “tofu-dregs projects” in China–while supporting artist Ai Weiwei. The author, Song Zhibiao, was forced to resign.

Deng Cunyao, a reporter for Fujian Province Longyan City Television, was attacked on his way to work in October 2010. Deng suffered a broken leg and was left disabled. The reason for the attack was that Deng accused the director of Longmen Clinic of embezzlement of compensation money meant for village doctors.

In August 2010, the Guangdong Provincial Propaganda Department banned renowned commentator and reporter Chang Ping from publishing on the Southern Metropolis. Chang’s reports are mostly breaking news commentaries and criticism aimed at the regime. Chang was previously silenced after the publication of his March 14, 2010 report on the Tibetan protests.

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Filed under censorship, intimidation, journalism

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