Chen Fang BOOK BANNING
Aug. 21, 1997
The Communist Party's propaganda department, the Culture Ministry, and the Press and Publications Administration banned Chen Fang's 1997 book, Wrath of Heaven: A Mayor's Severe Crime, for posing a threat to Chinese leadership with its coverage of government corruption. Though a novel, the book describes the infamous 1995 corruption scandal involving the former mayor of Beijing, Chen Xitong, and Wang Baosen, deceased deputy mayor.
On May 3, World Press Freedom Day, the imprisoned Chinese reporter, Gao Yu, was presented a $25,000 press freedom award in absentia by UNESCO Director General Fernando Mayor. Beijing reacted with furor, calling Gao Yu "a criminal" and threatening to close UNESCO's China office or quit the U.N. agency altogether.
Let's be realistic. We should stop calling the sickness "self-censorship" and name it what it really is‹censorship.
Front-line journalists seldom censor themselves. Their stories are usually killed by their superiors‹plain old censorship. Chief editors, senior managers, and publishers do the dirty work for the government by watering down criticism or spiking offensive stories.
In a landmark victory for democracy and press freedom, a Taiwan court on April 22 dismissed criminal libel charges against American journalist Ying Chan and Taiwan-based journalist Hsieh Chung-liang. An amicus brief signed by ten prominent United States media companies and the Committee to Protect Journalists on the defendants' behalf was a strong factor in the judge's decision, observers said.
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