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Blog   |   China

China censors reaction to star-studded propaganda film

In Shanghai, a promotional poster for "Revival." (AP/Eugene Hoshiko)

The creators of "Beginning of the Great Revival," a new film about the founding of the Chinese Communist Party, have spared no expense to make it a popular success. Done in a popular Chinese soap opera style, the movie features more than 100 stars, along with leading directors and producers. Then, the government enlisted information authorities to wipe out negative news coverage, according to international media reports.  

July 20, 2011 6:02 PM ET

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Blog   |   China

Hong Kong's accelerating media freedom decline

Police in Hong Kong crack down on a pro-democracy protest--and journalists who tried to cover the event. (Reuters/Tyrone Siu)

As a former resident of the Special Administrative Region, the classification given Hong Kong when it reverted to China's control in 1997, I've always watched the media there with the appreciative eye of a news consumer. The concept of "One Country, Two Systems," put forward to explain how the former British colony's capitalist economy and post-colonial administration were going to mesh with China's authoritarian government, was always suspect. A major concern was that China would eventually have to crack down on Hong Kong's free-wheeling media.  

July 14, 2011 12:46 PM ET

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Blog   |   China

Chinese censorship fans rumors on Jiang Zemin

At a Beijing exhibition, a portrait of Jiang and a security guard. (Reuters)

Sina's Twitter-like microblog platform Weibo blocked searches for "death," "river" and "301 Hospital" on Wednesday, according to The Wall Street Journal website. The company was responding to what Reuters reported was the service's most-discussed topic yesterday--the rumored demise of former President Jiang Zemin, whose surname, Jiang, means "river," and who may or may not have suffered a heart attack that was being treated at top leaders' hospital of choice in Beijing. 

July 7, 2011 5:29 PM ET

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Blog   |   China

On food safety, China misapplies a 'blacklist'

Sarcasm reflects how aware the Chinese public has become of the dangers of adulterated food. After Japan's Fukushima nuclear crisis, a rumor circulated in China that table salt could prevent radiation. In spite of the government's efforts to curb the rumors, tons of overpriced table salt were sold overnight. Chinese netizens reassured the public in their own ironic way. Chinese people have been consuming fruit soaked in pesticides, waste cooking oil, and pork tainted with chemicals for years, online commenters notes. In 2008, milk powder spiked with the chemical melamine caused sickness and death among young children. Nuclear radiation, in this light, seems less worrisome.  

June 27, 2011 9:05 AM ET

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Blog   |   China, Kazakhstan

Uighur refugee extradited by Kazakhstan, held in China

Chinese police patrol Urumqi following ethic violence in July 2009. (Reuters)

Kazakhstan authorities have extradited Uighur schoolteacher Arshidin Israil to China, where officials have described him without elaboration as a "major terror suspect," according to Reuters and other news accounts. Israil and his supporters believe the detention comes in reprisal for reporting he contributed to Radio Free Asia concerning the July 2009 riots in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Israil, a native of Xinjiang, fled China after the unrest but was detained in Kazakhstan in June 2010, according to news reports. He was extradited on May 30 of this year, days after Chinese authorities censored reporting and restricted online discussion about ethnic unrest in Inner Mongolia--an autonomous ethnic region like Xinjiang.

Blog   |   China

Public health still risky topic for Chinese journalists

Public health reporting is improving in China, but not fast enough. A new Human Rights Watch report on child lead poisoning in Chinese cities documents harassment of local journalists trying to cover the problem. "Journalists who reported on the lead poisoning in three of the four locations told Human Rights Watch that police had followed them or forced them to leave the area when attempting to interview people," the report says. 

Blog   |   China

Chinese media freedom in a 'sensitive' period

Madeline Earp speaks in London on Friday on press freedom in China. (BBC)

I was in London on Friday, speaking at a seminar joint-hosted by the BBC Chinese service and the British think tank Chatham House called "Media Freedom in China and the Role of International Broadcasters." There was a lot of impassioned discussion about the range of challenges facing international broadcasters, from slashed budgets to the recent press freedom crackdown. (Chinese speakers can watch my presentation on the BBC website.)

June 6, 2011 5:50 PM ET

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Blog   |   China

No spring in China, but are the media heading for a fall?

Here's a quick toss to a video posted on YouTube by Australian Broadcasting's reporter Stephen McDonell. He and his crew decided to confront some Chinese security types (not surprisingly they didn't identify themselves) who had been following them in Wenzhou while reporting in China. The team was covering religion, including underground or "house" churches--those not sanctioned by the government. The confrontation with McDonell's watchers in a posh hotel lobby is telling. McDonell's full story aired on May 17; you can find it at abc.net.au/foreign. And add a round of applause for the crew's cameraman Rob Hill for getting so much of the confrontation on tape. 

May 26, 2011 1:25 PM ET

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Blog   |   China

Q&A: Filmmaker talks Ai Weiwei and jailed activists

A still from the film of Ai Weiwei, taken in Jingdezhen, China, in 2010. (Courtesy Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry)

Three years after a devastating earthquake hit Sichuan province in May 2008, CPJ spoke to documentary filmmaker Alison Klayman. The director is working on the upcoming "Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry," about the recently detained Chinese artist who documented the aftermath of the earthquake and published the names of children killed in the collapse of frail school buildings. 

May 13, 2011 3:30 PM ET

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Blog   |   China

U.S-China disagreement, not dialogue, on human rights

The U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, which concluded in Washington today, may not have produced much in the way of specific commitments on human rights issues. But media appearances surrounding the talks have provided a forum for top leaders to re-state their views in public. 

May 10, 2011 3:54 PM ET

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2011

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