New York, June 20, 2003—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) condemns the Chinese government’s closure of the weekly newspaper Beijing Xinbao and other restrictions that appear to be part of a wider crackdown against the media in China.
Beijing Xinbao, which is run by the national newspaper Workers’ Daily, was closed and its editors were dismissed, according to news reports, shortly after an article ran in the paper’s June 4 edition criticizing the government. According to the Chinese newspaper Wen Wei Po, the article, which was titled “Seven Disgusting Things in China,” violated national publishing regulations.
A spokesperson from the Publication Administration of the Communist Party told The Associated Press that authorities have called for a review of all of China’s newspapers and magazines, and that more publications might be closed.
Meanwhile, authorities have said that subscriptions to newspapers and periodicals on the mainland for next year have been put on hold. The order was issued by the Propaganda Department of the Communist Party, the State Press and Publication Administration, and the State Postal Bureau, according to today’s South China Morning Post.
Propaganda officials have also recently banned Chinese journalists from writing about specific subjects, including the handling of the SARS outbreak, and has censored several newspapers and magazines, said a report today in The Washington Post.
“This crackdown signals a change for the worse in an already difficult climate for journalists,” said CPJ’s executive director Ann Cooper. “Journalists in China must be allowed to do their work without fear of censorship, imprisonment, or reprisal. We call on China’s leaders to stop these restrictions and harassment of the press immediately.”
With 38 members of the media in prison, China is the world’s leading jailer of journalists.