U.S. concerned on reports that Zhang Jialong has been fired from his job.
“We are deeply concerned by reports that one of the bloggers who met with [Secretary of State John Kerry] during his last trip to Beijing has been fired from his job,” U.S. Department of State Spokesperson Jen Psaki said in response to questions from the press on May 29, 2014.
“If the reports are true, we would be very troubled that a private sector employee would be fired by his company for publicly expressing his or her views.”
The blogger, Zhang Jialong, is a popular voice on the Chinese Internet and has become known for his defense of free speech. Mr. Zhang was one of four Chinese writers invited to meet with Secretary Kerry on February 15 in Beijing.
At the meeting with Secretary Kerry, Mr. Zhang expressed his opinions on China’s Internet controls and his concern about people being imprisoned for speaking their minds. He reportedly asked Secretary Kerry, “Will you get together with the Chinese who aspire for freedom” and help “tear down this great firewall that blocks the Internet?”
Mr. Zhang’s case highlights some of the difficulties faced by journalists and bloggers in China, ranging from repercussions from employers to government harassment and other curbs on freedom of expression.
“The United States remains concerned by the continuing crackdown on freedom of speech and expression on the Internet and by the detention and prosecution of bloggers in China,” Spokesperson Psaki said. “We urge Chinese authorities to guarantee all Chinese citizens the rights of free expression, association, religion, and peaceful assembly.”
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