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Challenged in China

4. CPJ's Recommendations

CPJ offers the following recommendations to Chinese authorities and the international community.

To China's government:

  • Release all journalists imprisoned for their work. China is one of the world’s worst jailers of journalists, with at least 32 in prison as of December 1, 2012.
  • Implement reforms to bring China’s laws and practices in line with international standards for press freedom and freedom of expression. Put an immediate end to all state censorship of newspapers, broadcasters, and other outlets.
  • End the use of national security and state secrets laws to prosecute journalists.
  • Decriminalize defamation laws. Reform civil defamation laws to prevent abuse by public figures and corporations.

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  • Halt the arbitrary detention, surveillance, and harassment of journalists.
  • Ensure that local officials do not commit violence against journalists because of critical media coverage. Bring to justice all those responsible for such attacks.
  • Allow international reporters access to all areas of the country, including Tibet and Tibetan areas of Qinghai and Gansu. Do not withhold visas or other documentation that international reporters need to work in China because of their reporting.
  • Cancel regulations that require real-name registration for Internet access, which will exacerbate cybercrime.
  • Ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which China signed in 1998. As a member of the United Nations, honor Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
  • Allow mainstream journalists to form an independent professional organization. The officially sanctioned All-China Journalists Association has failed to address their needs.
  • Allow the establishment of independent, privately held newspapers, radio stations, and television news channels.

To the European Union:

  • Insist that future political and economic relationships be dependent on China demonstrating improvements in press freedom and Internet freedom.
  • Make the release of imprisoned journalists a priority condition for enhancing diplomatic, strategic, and commercial engagement with China, including through new trade and investment pacts.
  • The Delegation of the European Union to China should monitor closely the situation of press freedom and apply to Chinese journalists EU guidelines on human rights defenders.
  • The European Parliament, and in particular its Subcommittee on Human Rights, should closely monitor the press freedom situation in China and hold public hearings on press freedom in China.

To the United States:

  • Insist that future political and economic relationships be dependent on China demonstrating improvements in press freedom and Internet freedom.
  • Make the release of imprisoned journalists a priority condition for enhancing diplomatic, strategic, and commercial engagement with China, including through new trade and investment pacts.
  • The president of the United States, the National Security Council, and the U.S. State Department must engage China’s leaders on press freedom and freedom of expression in bilateral and multilateral meetings.
  • The U.S. Congress, including the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, should hold public hearings on press freedom and freedom of expression in China.

To United Nations member states:

  • In bilateral and multilateral meetings, engage China’s leaders on human rights and press freedom.
  • Insist that China release all imprisoned journalists and make demonstrable progress on press freedom as a condition to its bid for taking a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council in 2014.

To U.N. Human Rights Council members:

  • Consider passage of a resolution urging China to improve its poor press and Internet freedom record and to halt its persistent jailing of journalists.
  • The Human Rights Council should task the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression to investigate the press freedom situation in China and report the findings and recommendations to the council and other relevant U.N. institutions.

To international Internet and technology companies:

  • Join organizations such as the Global Network Initiative that have developed principles and best practices for dealing with surveillance and censorship of online services.
  • Use state-of-the-art, end-to-end secure, encrypted connections between users and services to limit surveillance and keyword censorship of services.
  • Hold dialogues with local journalists and bloggers to ensure internationally accepted practices are in place to protect user anonymity and security.
  • Predicate future investments and technological transfers on China demonstrating progress on press freedom and Internet freedom.

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