December 17, 2018

Press Freedom

China

China June 28, 2006

H.E. Hu Jintao
President
Office of the President
Zhonganahai
Beijing 100017
People’s Republic of China
Fax: (011.86.10.6) 512-5810
 

Your Excellency:
 

China today has much to be proud of. Its economic development has raised the standard of living for hundreds of millions of people. Such great change is naturally accompanied by social problems, from corruption to a widened discrepancy between rich and poor, problems which your government is working to address. In that context, the Overseas Press Club of America reminds you that the foundations of a healthy modern society must include a free press.
 

We understand China’s concern for stability at this transitional moment in its history. But suppression of China’s vibrant media is precisely what will lead to social unrest. A free press is a useful social channel through which people can vent opinion and complaint, contributing to a social fabric that is supple and healthy. In contrast, Chinese society today seems to us brittle.
 

Again and again, Chinese journalists who publish information unflattering to the Communist Party or local authorities have been put on trial and sentenced to long terms in prison. Recognizing that local leaders unfairly repress journalists without the knowledge of the central authorities we draw your attention to several especially egregious cases:
 

•  Yang Xiaoqing, a reporter for China Industrial Economy News, was sentenced to prison after writing about corruption involving local officials in Longhui County. Knowing your government is committed to cracking down on local officials whose corruption threatens social stability we hope you will “seek truth from facts” in rectifying this case.

•  Li Yuanlong, a reporter in Guizhou province, was tried on charges of “inciting subversion of state authority” in connection with articles he posted online about rural poverty and unemployment. The charge of “subversion” appears to rest entirely on his criticism of local authorities.

•  Yang Tianshui, an Internet writer who has criticized the government, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for his reporting. We remind you that under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights citizens are free to express their opinion.

•  New York Times researcher Zhao Yan has now been held 21 months on charges of fraud and stealing state secrets. It is clear to the world that he has done nothing illegal. Zhao has yet to appear before a judge — what modern state treats its citizens like this?

•  Hao Wu, an editor of the website Global Voices, was arrested February 22 nd when he was preparing a report on underground Protestant churches. He has to date been denied access to a lawyer, a clear violation of Chinese due process.
 

We remind you that, Your Excellency, that alongside respect for the rule of law a free press is the strongest support of social stability. A people without open access to news cannot engage the competitive world of ideas.

Respectfully yours,
Dorinda Elliott
Kevin McDermott
Freedom of the Press Committee

 

CC:

 

Wen Jiabao

State Council

Office of the Premier

Zhonganahai

Beijing 100077

People’s Republic of China

Fax: (011.86.10.6) 512-5810

 

Yang Jiechi

Ambassador of China to the U.S.A.

Embassy of the People’s Republic of China

2300 Connecticut Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20008

Fax: (202) 588-0032

 

Ambassador Wang Guangya

Permanent Representative

Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China

to the United Nations

350 East 35th Street

New York, NY 10016

Fax: (212) 634-7626

 

Clark T. Randt, Jr.

U.S. Ambassador to China

Embassy of the United States of America

No. 3 Xiu Shui Bei Jie

100600 Beijing

China

Fax: (011.86.10.6) 532-6929