In reporting on the Libyan conflict, China's media "emphasize only the humanitarian disasters caused by Western air bombardments, and [report] sparingly if at all on the violent suppression and massacre of the people by Qaddafi," Al-Jazeera's Beijing bureau chief, Ezzat Shahrour, writes on his blog. Chinese readers so far have been largely supportive of his viewpoint.
The Chinese security apparatus is kidnapping government critics, unchallenged by the domestic press. Writer Yang Hengjun, who went missing in March and has since reappeared, criticized the Chinese press this week for failing to report on his enforced disappearance. While state media are accusing the missing artist and social critic Ai Weiwei of plagiarism and being "erratic," according to UK-based The Economist, they are not questioning his apparent, unlawful detention.
We reported Thursday that Chinese media reports on Ai Weiwei have reflected his ambiguous status in Chinese law. After several days in which Ai was considered missing, the Foreign Ministry acknowledged police were investigating him for "economic crimes" although it stopped short of saying he was detained. Coverage within China remains very limited, although there have been a couple of surprising, ambivalent notes about his fate.
New York, April 7, 2011--With China in the midst of a sweeping crackdown on public dissent, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should follow the example of Britain and Germany and call for the immediate release of detained artist and social critic Ai Weiwei and other detained journalists and dissidents, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The two countries' foreign ministries have each urged China to release Ai, according to Reuters.
New York, April 6, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on members of the European Parliament to strongly criticize the Chinese government's apparent detention of artist and social activist Ai Weiwei. The European Parliament is convening an emergency debate Thursday on Ai's disappearance, which may be the latest unlawful detention in the government's onslaught against its critics.
New York, April 4, 2011--The disappearance of internationally renowned artist and commentator Ai Weiwei is a disturbing indicator of the extent of the government's onslaught against its critics, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
New York, March 30, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by the dismissal of two Guangzhou-based journalists who advocate for political reform amid tightening restrictions on free expression. While several bloggers and activists have disappeared or been detained in the last month after anonymous calls for demonstrations in support of political reform were published online, journalists in traditional media are now also being targeted, CPJ said.
China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Jiang Yu, today denied having heard of Sydney-based Chinese author and blogger Yang Hengjun, according to The Associated Press. We reported yesterday that Yang was missing, presumed to be the latest high-profile writer to fall victim to the government's aggressive roundup of critics who might respond to online calls for a Chinese "Jasmine revolution." Concern for Yang deepened today, after reports emerged that he had called his sister in Guangzhou to say he had been detained. "Having a long chat with old friends" was the pre-arranged phrase they used, AP reported.
New York, March 28, 2011--Police indicted one online writer on anti-state charges in Sichuan today and another disappeared in Guangzhou on Sunday, according to international news reports. Both cases appear part of the Chinese Communist Party's strenuous efforts to suppress their critics and pre-empt a "Jasmine Revolution" in China, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
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