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Report finds China world’s biggest jailer of journalists

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(, May04’23) – China is the world’s biggest jailer of journalists and press freedom advocates and ranks 179th, with only North Korea trailing it, in the latest global Press Freedom Index released May 3 by Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

What is more, this is a four-place slide for China compared to its ranking in the preceding year, says the RSF, releasing its Press Freedom Index on the World Press Freedom Day.

Restrictions on the media have kept China near the bottom of the RSF’s Press Freedom Index for the past decade, noted China-monitoring group May 3.

An earlier report released by the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China in March presented a dismal state of press freedom for foreign journalists who it said endured official obstruction, threats, and harassment in carrying out their professional work in the country.

For Chinese journalists, the conditions are even worse and include arbitrary detention and prosecution, the report noted.

The RSF report says that as of May 3, the Chinese government had 101 journalists in detention, the most of any country. It says over a dozen Chinese press freedom defenders are at risk of losing their lives in detention.

China’s repression of press freedom extends beyond the mainland. Only last week, Chinese authorities arrested Li Yanhe (whose pen name is Fu Cha), a Taiwan-based resident who founded Gusa Publishing, which published books critical of the Communist Party of China, noted that report.

The case has sent chills through the island’s community of booksellers and writers, echoing previous cases of Chinese authorities targeting writers and disseminators of critical or politically sensitive literature. And, often, there is little to no detail of what those accused of endangering national security are supposed to have done, the report noted.

RSF has ranked 180 countries and territories using a quantitative tally of abuses against journalists and media outlets and a qualitative analysis based on a questionnaire given to hundreds of press freedom experts.


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