China Arrests Journalist Shi Binhai

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September 14, 1998

 

Jiang Zemin
President, State Council
Beijing 100032
People's Republic of China

 

Your Excellency:

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is greatly alarmed over the reported arrest of Shi Binhai, a leading Chinese journalist, on September 5.

Shi, an editor with the China Economic Times in Beijing, was taken from his Beijing home by National Security Ministry personnel, who also searched his house. The Security Ministry has not given any explanation for the arrest, nor has it informed Shi's family where he is being held.Sincerely,

A leading voice in Beijing journalism, Shi, 36, is also the editor of the best-selling book "Political China: Facing the Era of Choosing a New Structure," a groundbreaking collection of 39 essays by journalists, academics, and former government officials calling for political reform. Sources in China expressed fears that Shi was arrested as a result of his work on the book.

A native of Shanghai, Shi was imprisoned in 1989 for his role in the Tienanmen Square democracy movement. He was released in 1991.

Shi's arrest comes just three days after Beijing authorities detained Natalie Liu, a freelance Chinese television producer with CBS News in Beijing, and held her for two days without charge, during which time they question her about her journalistic work. These two incidents illustrate the severe constraints on journalists in China. With a government-controlled press and little access to due process and the rule of law, reporters and editors routinely face the threat of arbitrary arrest and detention as a consequence of their work.

As a nonpartisan organization of journalists devoted to upholding press freedom worldwide, CPJ urges you to use your good offices to secure the immediate and unconditional release of Shi Binhai, to allow his family to see him, and to ensure that all journalists in China are allowed the freedom to carry out their professional duties without fear of reprisal.

We look forward to your response.

 

Ann K. Cooper

Executive Director



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Jiang Zemin
President, State Council
Beijing 100032
People's Republic of China

Fax: 86-10-6512-5810