Monthly Archives: July 2012

“Donate my ass” – Blocked in China

I love the “Sensitive Words” section of China Digital Times.  This is a section that points out the words and terms currently being blocked by the Great Firewall of China.

This week “Donate my ass” is blocked because that term came out many times in response to a call for charitable help from the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Civil Affairs for flood recovery.

Of course, a lot of discussion about the flooding of Beijing — referred to as the “Katrina of China” — is being blocked.

For full report: Sensitive Words: Beijing Flood (2)

And there is the Anti-Social List from the China Media Project in Hong Kong: Post comparing Beijing floods to SARS deleted




Filed under Censorship, China, Press Freedom

Free media vital to anti-corruption campaign

Transparency International issued a new report on steps to fight corruption in the Visegard countries — Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.

The outlook is not good. But the report does have some bright points. Specifically, the report notes that strong civic society organizations and free media are important players in the anti-corruption battles.

Non-state institutions, especially media and civil society, are key anti-corruption actors because for corrupt interest groups it is much harder to influence and control them than state institutions.

As noted before in this site, countries without free and independent media are often right at the top of the list of most corrupt.

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Filed under Corruption, Europe, Press Freedom

March in Hong Kong; Serve time in Jiangxi

Two people from Jiangxi traveled to Hong Kong as part of a group of 57 petitioners from mainland China to protest unofficial detention centers used to hold those who complain about the government.

Once Song Ningsheng and Zeng Jiuzi returned to China, they were handed one-year sentences in a labor camp.

The sentences were issued without a trial.

It seems penalties for participating in demonstrations opposing the central government policies can be handled administratively with no need for a trial. (That ought to warm the hearts of all those who complain about lawyers gumming up the judicial process.)

According to Radio Free Asia, Zeng’s son Liu Zhonghua was given the news verbally by police in Jiangxi’s Ningdu county.

“The police said that my mother and Song Ningsheng went to Hong Kong and took part in an illegal demonstration,” Liu said. “They had also petitioned illegally in Beijing a number of times.”

“I asked [the officer] whether they would give me an official notification document, and he said there was no need, because they could just do this with a nod to the people at the labor camp,” he said.

For those who have forgotten, while Hong Kong is part of China, the people in Hong Kong enjoy civil liberties such as free press, freedom of assembly and freedom of speech. (That is why anti-Beijing rallies can and are held there.)

In addition, the border between Hong Kong and China is considered a “hard border.” Passports are checked as people move between mainland China and Hong Kong, just as if Hong Kong was another country.

So, what the authorities in Jiangxi have done is send a couple of people to a forced-labor camp for participating in an action that was legal in the place where the action happened. This kind of “justice” has a serious dampening effect on the freedoms in Hong Kong and needs to be watched closely.

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Filed under Censorship, China

Really? China, Russia and Bahrain. Hardly free media places

I get it. It is important for people of similar industries to meet in a global manner on a regular basis. So it is not surprising to see the BBC, the AP and Al Jazeera to team up with less reputable media outlets such as Xinhua to have a World Media Summit.

But do the news media leaders have to keep meeting in places that brutally repress  independent media and actively suppress bloggers and online citizen jorunalists?

The first summit was held in Beijing. The most recent in Moscow.  And the 2014 summit will be in Bahrain.

Really? All three places have no free and independent media. And the governments of all three keep tossing journalists in jail for not toeing the official line. (Comments summarized from Freedom House)

  • China: China’s media environment is extremely restrictive. 2011 featured one of the worst crackdowns on freedom of expression activists in recent memory.
  • Russia: Journalists are unable to cover the news freely, especially topics such as human rights abuses, corruption, organized crime, police torture, the opposition parties and the country’s economic crisis
  • Bahrain: There is an ongoing campaign of intimidation by the government against journalists, bloggers, and other media workers.

I’m not saying don’t have international summits or conferences sessions that include state-run (and directed) media organizations. But how about holding a summit in a place that actually allows free press?

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Filed under Censorship, Connections, International News Coverage, Press Freedom

Chinese editor shuffles continue

David Bandurski reports on the China Media Project website that the publisher of Shanghai’s Oriental Morning Post has been dismissed, and one of its deputy editors has been suspended.

This action is on the heels of other recent shuffling of newspaper editors.

In the most general sense, the two actions — though not in any way related or coordinated — can be read as stemming from an all-round tightening of press controls in China ahead of the crucial 18th Party Congress later this year.

Read Bandurski’s full report: China’s media and “death by uncertain causes”

As noted in the article, maybe the following comments from the Oriental Morning Post had something to do with the firings:

China has reached a point where public power must be checked, where public power cannot be allowed to be held ransom by vested interests, which cannot be allowed to wield monopoly power, the power to control massive amounts of limited resources.

Wielding monopoly power is what the leadership in Beijing is all about.

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Filed under Censorship, China, Press Freedom