CPJ calls on Congress to support press freedom

Washington, DC, June 24, 2002–In a round-table discussion organized by the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), CPJ’s Asia program coordinator Kavita Menon called for greater U.S. support for press freedom in China. “The U.S. has clear commercial and political interests in promoting greater transparency and the rule of law in China,” said Menon. “The local media have increasingly played a critical role in exposing corruption and other abuses of power, and deserve the support of the international community for doing so.”

Menon also called on members of the United States Congress to speak out when Chinese journalists are jailed in order to help secure their release. The Chinese government currently holds 35 journalists in prison, according to CPJ research.

The CECC (www.cecc.gov), founded by Congress in 2000, has a legislative mandate to monitor human rights and the rule of law in China. Sen. Max Baucus and Rep. Doug Bereuter head the commission, which is composed of nine senators, nine members of the House of Representatives, and five senior administration officials. Staff members hold periodic hearings and round-tables and submit an annual report to Congress and the president.

Today’s round-table, titled, “Restrictions on Media Freedoms in China,” included Menon; He Qinglian, author of China’s Pitfalls and former editor at the Shenzhen Legal Daily; and James Mann, senior writer-in-residence at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

(Click here for a full copy of Kavita Menon’s testimony.)