Reporters Without Borders publishes damning report on Chinese regime’s crackdown on journalism; – The New Indian Express

Through Online office

PARIS: Since President Xi Jinping came to power in early 2013, an unprecedented wave of arrests since the end of the Maoist era has hit journalists and political commentators across China, abruptly ending a decade of experimenting with pluralism and debate in the Chinese media, said a major report published on Wednesday by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

The RSF 2021 World Press Freedom Index ranks the People’s Republic of China 177 out of 180 countries, just two places above North Korea, with at least 127 journalists and media activists in detention. India ranks 142 and Pakistan 145 while North Korea and Eritrea rank 179 and 180.

Two years after China’s pursuit of a new world media order, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) publishes Journalism’s Great Leap Back in China, a report revealing the scale of the regime’s crackdown on the right to information, “said the media watchdog. noted.

According to RSF, “Published a year before the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, which will take place at the end of December 2022, Journalism’s Great Leap Back in China is a damning 82-page document that demonstrates the acceleration of violations against its citizens. own international commitments on freedom of opinion and expression. The report, released on December 7, reveals the Chinese regime’s unprecedented crackdown on journalism and the right to information around the world in recent years.

RSF Secretary General Christophe Deloire in the front of the Media Observatory report said that before Xi came to power in 2013, there was an emerging trend towards improved freedom. of the press, but he had “put a brutal end to this partial opening and re-established a media culture worthy of the Maoist era.”

He added, “This ‘big step backwards’ of journalism in China is all the more terrifying given that the regime has immense financial and technological resources to achieve its goals.”

The report recalls the arrest of investigative journalist Huang Qi in 2016 who was sentenced in July 2019 by a court to 12 years in prison for investigating human rights violations committed by Chinese officials. On April 30, 2020, journalist Chen Jieren, a former Chinese state media employee, was sentenced to 15 years in prison by the Guiyang People’s Court for revealing corruption facts involving a number of Communist Party officials. In July 2018, cartoonist Jiang Yefei, known for his satirical cartoons, was sentenced to six and a half years in prison, while famous journalist and press freedom advocate Qin Yongmin was sentenced to 13 years in prison for “Subversion”.

Lay journalists are not immune from prosecution either. Even border and nationality considerations are not holding back the Chinese regime, which currently detains three foreign journalists for espionage, according to the report.

“In 2017, Liu Xiaobo, winner of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize and the 2004 RSF Press Freedom Prize, and blogger Yang Tongyan both died of untreated cancer while in detention. According to RSF’s tally, at least ten press freedom defenders currently detained in China risk imminent death if not immediately released. ”

Additionally, Uyghur journalists and bloggers appear to face stiffer sentences than their Han Chinese counterparts, such as Ilham Tohti, economist and founder of the Uyghur Online website who was sentenced to life in prison for “separatism” in 2014.

Regarding internet surveillance, the report notes that on November 2, 2021, on Chinese social network Sina Weibo, international tennis champion Peng Shuai accused a former member of the Standing Committee of the Party’s Political Bureau and former deputy prime minister. Zhang Gaoli of rape. . In less than 30 minutes, her post and all associated public comments were deleted and the athlete’s account was removed from the search engine. The censors are trying, by all means, to cover up a scandal that risks splashing the upper echelons of power. Peng Shuai herself was subsequently reportedly placed under house arrest.

According to AlJazeera, the report’s release coincided with the one-year anniversary of the detention of Haze Fan, a New York-based press aide for Bloomberg News, who was taken by plainclothes police to Beijing last year. Bloomberg editor-in-chief John Micklethwait said on Tuesday the media group was “very concerned for his well-being” after 12 months in detention.

Amanda J. Marsh