In the last month, China has cracked down on several journalists and bloggers.
In the last month, China has cracked down on several journalists and bloggers. Liu Hu [leo hoh], a journalist with the Guangzhou-based [gwan-joe] daily Xin Kuai Bao [shin kwy bow], was recently arrested on a charge of “spreading false rumors” on his Weibo [way-boh] account because he urged authorities to investigate a government official suspected of corruption.
Members of the Beijing police arrested Liu in Chongqing [chong-cheeing] and took him to the capital. Police also searched his home, seized computer hard disks and laptops, and authorities closed his Weibo account.
In the weeks preceding former senior official Bo Xilai’s [boh shee-lie’s] trial, authorities cracked down on several journalists and bloggers who openly supported him. They included Time Weekly journalist Song Yangbiao [yang-bee-ow], who was arrested on August 5 after posting a message supporting Bo on his Weibo account.
The charge of “spreading false rumors” is often used to arrest bloggers. Yang Xiuyu [show-yoo], the founder of a company specializing in Internet public relations, and one of his employees, Qin Zhihui [chin jeh-whey], were arrested on this charge in Beijing on August 22.
According to press reports, a 28-year-old blogger, Zhou Lubao [joe loo-bow], who recently exposed a corruption scandal, was also reported to have been formally arrested and charged with extortion over the weekend.
Freedom of expression is a universal human right that applies online as well as offline. No one should be imprisoned, detained, or otherwise harassed for exercising this right. The Chinese government must respect the rights of all its citizens to freely express their opinions and report the news, in accordance with China’s international human rights commitments.
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