As the leadership handed over power to new Communist Party appointees in a November congress, censors aggressively blocked coverage of dissent, including reports on blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng's escape from house arrest. Coverage of corruption was tightly controlled in foreign and domestic media. The New York Times and Bloomberg News were censored domestically after they revealed the fortunes held by the families of top leaders, including the incoming president, Xi Jinping. The Foreign Ministry declined to renew the credentials of Al-Jazeera correspondent Melissa Chan, forcing her to leave Beijing amid troubling anti-foreign rhetoric. Authorities removed top executives at two outspoken domestic papers, Guangzhou's New Express and Shanghai's Oriental Morning Post. Internet users debated environmental disasters and the high-profile ouster of former leadership candidate Bo Xilai over a corruption and murder scandal, setting off fresh censorship and anti-rumor campaigns. China continued to jail a large number of online journalists, many of whom sought to cover issues affecting ethnic minorities. Two Tibetan writers were jailed in 2012 for documenting a debate on the preservation of Tibetan culture. CPJ honored jailed Tibetan filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen with an International Press Freedom Award in November.
China remained one of the world's worst jailers of the press, trailing only Turkey and Iran.
Saudi Arabia: 4
Democratic Republic of Congo: 3
Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories: 3
Burkina Faso: 1
Bloomberg News was censored after reporting that relatives of the incoming president, Xi Jinping, had invested in companies with assets totaling $376 million. Xi had urged other leaders not to seek personal gain from power. China censored other reports that documented the assets of top officials.
Of the 32 journalists jailed in China, at least 19 were Tibetans or Uighurs imprisoned for documenting ethnic tensions that began in 2008. The number of jailed ethnic journalists climbed for the fourth consecutive year.
The foreign ministry's refusal to renew Al-Jazeera English correspondent Melissa Chan's journalism credentials resulted in her de facto expulsion in May. Chan was the first foreign journalist publicly forced out since 1998, according to CPJ research.
Do you believe the free flow of information must be protected? Sign the #RightToReport petition and demand that President Obama immediately:
1. Issue a presidential policy directive prohibiting the hacking and surveillance of journalists and media organizations.
2. Limit aggressive prosecutions that ensnare journalists and intimidate whistleblowers.
3. Prevent the harassment of journalists at the U.S. border.
Or click here to see the full petition, and join leading journalists like Christiane Amanpour, The Guardian’s Alan Rusbridger, Editor of the AP Kathleen Carroll, and Arianna Huffington in signing on.