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China retains record as world’s top jailer of journalists

Pro-democracy protesters hold up signs during a demonstration calling for the release of Chinese journalist Gao Yu outside the Chinese liaison office in Hong Kong on April 17. (Photo courtesy: Newsweek)
Pro-democracy protesters hold up signs during a demonstration calling for the release of Chinese journalist Gao Yu outside the Chinese liaison office in Hong Kong on April 17. (Photo courtesy: Newsweek)

(TibetanReview.net, Dec22, 2017) – One unbeaten record China does not boast about is its position as the world’s top jailer of journalists. “China continues to be the world’s biggest prison for journalists and continues to improve its arsenal of measures for persecuting journalists and bloggers,” said Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Dec 19 in its annual report for 2017.

The report said China jailed 52 journalists this year, followed by Turkey with 42. Also, New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said in its report released earlier this week that 262 journalists were jailed as of Dec 1, with China, Egypt and Turkey accounting for more than half of them for the second year in a row.

The RSF has also condemned China for the insidious brutality of its treatment of jailed journalists. “The government no longer sentences its opponents to death but instead deliberately lets their health deteriorate in prison until they die,” it said, citing the cases of late Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo and writer Yang Tianshui who both died in police custody, succumbing to advanced-stage cancers, earlier this year.

The group has also expressed growing concern over the well-being of Huang Qi, the detained founding editor of the Tianwang rights website and winner of the RSF Press Freedom Prize in 2004. He “is being subjected to beatings and denial of medical care in a Mianyang detention center in an attempt to force him to plead guilty,” the report said.

He is said to have suffered beatings at the hands of fellow-inmates under the supervision of guards in the Mianyang Detention Center in Sichuan Province. The purpose is to force him to plead guilty to some trumped-up charge and to continue the beatings until he does that.

“There is no freedom of the press in China, and controls are getting tighter and tighter,” rfa.org Dec 20 quoted US-based Chinese studies expert Xie Xuanjun as saying. “Journalists are increasingly facing charges of incitement to subvert state power and revealing state secrets, which can lead to life imprisonment or even the death penalty.”

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