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China

2010

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New York, December 28, 2010--The death of Sun Hongjie, a senior reporter at the Northern Xinjiang Morning Post, must be fully investigated by regional authorities in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region and by central authorities in Beijing, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Sun died in a hospital in Kuitun today, 10 days after being beaten by several men at a construction site, international news reports said. 

New York, December 22, 2010--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the vicious beating of reporter Sun Hongjie and doubts official reports that the attack occurred because of an online dispute with a social media acquaintance. Sun, a reporter for the Northern Xinjiang Morning Post (known locally at the Beijiang Morning Post) was attacked by a group of six people after he had gone to meet a source at a construction site in the small city of Kuitin on Saturday night, according to international news reports. He was discovered at the site on Sunday morning. The state news agency, Xinhua, has reported that he is brain-dead.

It's my second link to a report by Hal Roberts (and others at the Berkman Center) in as many days, but I worry that this this detailed document on denial-of-service (DOS) and hacking attacks on independent media and human rights groups might get missed in the holiday season.

The news headlines in the last few weeks have been full of stories of how DOS attacks can bring down even high-profile websites, often with relatively little technical expertise on behalf of the attackers. Such attacks are nothing new to online journalists across the world, however. Just this year, CPJ has dealt with cases of independent news sites being taken offline by remote Internet attacks in China, Burma, Vietnam, Russia, Kazakhstan, and now Belarus.

The Berkman Center's report details over three hundred other cases from 1998 onwards, from Sweden to North Korea. More important, the researchers interviewed the victims of these attacks, and categorized what defenses were practical and effective -- and what did not work.

If you're an online journalist with powerful opponents, I'd strongly encourage you to read this document and pass it along to your tech-savvy associates. Even a small amount of preparation can help keep vital news and opinion available online when you -- and your readers -- most need it.

Southern Metropolis Daily's front page.

Although China continues to censor references to imprisoned writer Liu Xiaobo's Nobel peace prize in the news and online, some have been finding creative ways to express support for him. An outspoken newspaper published a front-page picture featuring empty chairs on Sunday, in what appears to be a covert reference to the seat left vacant for Liu during Friday's ceremony in Oslo. 

Members of Nobel Peace Prize committee flank a chair left empty for Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, who remains jailed in China. (Toby Melville/Reuters)

It was more than Liu Xiaobo's chair that was empty at Thursday's Nobel Peace Prize ceremony. What was also on display to the world was China's lack of a new approach to media that goes beyond its decades-old approach of controlling through denial and suppression. 

New York, December 10, 2010--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the Chinese authorities' censorship of news reports covering today's ceremony in Oslo awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to imprisoned writer Liu Xiaobo.

Relying heavily on vague antistate charges, authorities jail 145 journalists worldwide. Eritrea, Burma, and Uzbekistan are also among the worst jailers of the press. A CPJ special report

From Africa to the Americas, more journalists are imprisoned today than at any time since 1996. (AFP)
Five of 17 journalists released from Cuban prisons give a press conference on their arrival in Madrid in July. They have since told CPJ they suffered torture in jail. (AP/Paul White)

Today we released our annual census of imprisoned journalists around the world, citing 145 reporters, editors, and photojournalists behind bars on December 1, an increase of nine from 2009 figures. The tally begs the question, What's in a number?

Fighting bogus piracy raids, Microsoft issues new licenses

CPJ has documented for several years the use of spurious anti-piracy raids to shut down and intimidate media organizations in Russia and the former Soviet republics. Offices have been shut down, and computers seized. Often, security agents make bogus claims to be representing or acting on behalf of the U.S. software company Microsoft.

Nart Villeneuve has published a detailed summary of recent malware attacks on media and human rights groups who work on Chinese issues. He highlights a disturbing new trend. On Wednesday, Amnesty Hong Kong's website was repurposed by hackers to infect visitors with a wide variety of nasty malware. The Nobel Prize's website was also defaced earlier this month, for the same ends.

As with the e-mailed Nobel invite malware CPJ described earlier this week, these attacks target one vulnerable member of the dissident community, then use that person's own communications to infect others.

If you're an organization whose audience in China is of interest to the authorities, please take extra care with the security of your website. As Villeneuve says, even if this spate of attacks ebbs, attacking online news sites to spread targeted spyware is a trend that is bound to continue.

2010

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Killed in China

2 journalists killed since 1992

2 journalists murdered

2 murdered with impunity

Attacks on the Press 2012

19 Jailed Uighurs and Tibetans, which is more than half of the 32 jailed journalists.

Country data, analysis »

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Asia

Program Coordinator:
Bob Dietz

bdietz@cpj.org

Tel: 212-465-1004
ext. 140, 115
Fax: 212-465-9568

330 7th Avenue, 11th Floor
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