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A publication of the
Committee to Protect Journalists

About this Report


he bulk of this report was researched and written by Kristin Jones, senior Asia research associate for the Committee to Protect Journalists, and Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. The reporting is based on interviews with Chinese journalists, lawyers, and academics conducted during Jones’ research trips to China in March 2006 and April 2007, along with research and interviews conducted from CPJ’s New York offices.

The report follows a November 2006 meeting between representatives of CPJ and the International
Olympic Committee at IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. CPJ board member Jane Kramer and Jones met with Olympic Games Executive Director Gilbert Felli and IOC Communications
Director Giselle Davies to urge them to do more to ensure that Chinese authorities fulfill their promises of media freedom in the run-up to the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008. CPJ research shows that domestic journalists continue to face severe threats and restrictions. This report is a further attempt to describe these conditions in detail and to make known our recommendations for change.

CPJ gratefully acknowledges the vital work of several contributing writers. Chapter 3, “Commerce and Control: The Media’s Evolution,” was written by David Bandurski, a freelance writer and media expert based in Hong Kong. Ashley Esarey, a political science professor at Middlebury College in Vermont who has written extensively about the Chinese media, wrote the Chapter 5 sidebar, “The Media Managers.” Esarey also provided guidance for Chapter 5, “Censorship at Work: The Newsroom in China.”

Jonathan Watts, Beijing correspondent for The Guardian of London, wrote Chapter 10, “An Opening: Foreign Media See Gains.” Jocelyn Ford wrote the sidebar for that chapter, titled “Guidelines for Reporters on the Ground.” Ford, head of the press freedom committee of the Foreign Correspondents Club of China, has reported from Beijing for U.S. public radio since 2002 and for state-run China Radio International in 2001. CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney wrote the Chapter 9 sidebar, “Writing (Ethical) Code.”

CPJ research assistant May Yang compiled the Chapter 2 quotations, “What They Said,” and the Chapter 3 timeline, “Politics and the Press.” CPJ also wishes to acknowledge the important research by Benjamin Liebman of the Columbia University School of Law and Chen Zhiwu of the Yale University School of Management, which is cited in Chapter 7, “The Libel Card: Suits That Inhibit.” For information about China’s Internet policies, CPJ drew from research conducted by OpenNet Initiative, a collaborative partnership of four academic institutions. Particularly valuable was OpenNet’s 2005 study of Internet filtering in China.

We are grateful to Li Datong for allowing us to reprint excerpts of his May 2007 address to the Society of Publishers in Asia, and to Pu Zhiqiang for allowing use of his letter in defense of clients Chen Guidi and Wu Chuntao.

Translations of many Chinese laws and regulations were provided by the firm TransAsia Lawyers, the firm TransPerfect, and the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. We are also grateful to Roland Soong, New Century Net, and TransPerfect for other translations used in this report. New Century Net graciously granted reprint rights to Cheng Yizhong’s 2005 remarks in acceptance of the 2005 Guillermo Cano Award. Soong’s blog, EastSouthWestNorth, was an important source throughout.