China Expels Japanese Journalist

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October 7, 1998

 

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

 

Your Excellency:

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is deeply disturbed by the expulsion from China of Japanese journalist Yukihisa Nakatsu, a Beijing correspondent for Japan's largest daily newspaper, Yomiuri Shimbun.

Nakatsu was ordered to leave China on October 4, after his third interrogation by security officials since returning to Beijing from a trip to Tibet. Nakatsu went to Tibet with about 20 other Japanese reporters, but when he returned on September 27, security agents searched both his home and his paper's Beijing office, seizing the reporter's notes and certain documents.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said that Nakatsu had "obtained state secrets . . . breaking the law on national security of the People's Republic of China." While Chinese authorities maintain that Nakatsu "confessed his crimes" before leaving, a Yomiuri spokesman in Tokyo said that it was precisely because the reporter refused to disclose his sources or explain how he came across sensitive documents that he was expelled from China.

Colleagues of Nakatsu in Beijing told reporters that they believe that his deportation actually had very little to do with his visit to Tibet, and that it was instead prompted by his connections to Chinese journalist Shi Binhai, an editor with the China Economic Times who was arrested on September 5 by officials of China's National Security Ministry.

As an organization of journalists dedicated to protecting the rights of our colleagues around the world, CPJ is dismayed that state-sponsored attacks against members of the press in China continue, despite recent pledges made by the government to uphold international standards of human rights.

When China's ambassador to the United Nations, Qin Huasun, signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) on October 5, he said that China "respects and protects civil and political rights and opposes any acts that violate a citizen's legitimate rights." The arrest of Shi Binhai-with no explanation of the charges on which he is being held, and without informing family members of his whereabouts-and the expulsion of Yukihisa Nakatsu violate ICCPR protections against arbitrary detention, and guarantees of freedom of expression and association.

CPJ respectfully urges you to allow Yukihisa Nakatsu back into China to continue his work, and to ensure that all journalists in the country are granted the freedom to carry out their professional duties without fear of reprisal. We also repeat the concerns expressed in our letter sent to your office on September 14, asking for the immediate and unconditional release of Shi Binhai-and the full disclosure of his whereabouts, his condition, and the reasons for his detention.

We look forward to your response.

 

Sincerely,

Ann K. Cooper

Executive Director



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

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