China

News the Chinese won’t report: the growing silencing of bloggers

BBC

In this photo taken on July 31, 2012, Isaac Mao, a well-known Chinese blogger and the founder of Sharism Lab, a social media research group, works on a computer in Beijing. Mao had more than 30,000 users when his Weibo account was deleted in June after he made a series of questioning remarks about China's space program. (AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan)

In this photo taken on July 31, 2012, Isaac Mao, a well-known Chinese blogger and the founder of Sharism Lab, a social media research group, works on a computer in Beijing. Mao had more than 30,000 users when his Weibo account was deleted in June after he made a series of questioning remarks about China’s space program. (AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan)

Something’s up—or, better put, something’s down—with bloggers in China.

As recently as two years ago, China’s equivalent of Twitter, Sina Weibo, “was crawling with tales of political scandal.”

It all seemed consistent with our assumptions about the unstoppable forces presented by the Internet, even among anti-democratic regimes.

But such tales and accusations in China are fewer and far between these days. The online community is more passive, perhaps as a function of intimidation. Read more

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Chinese journalist who worked for a German newspaper freed after 9 month detention

Associated Press

Zhang Miao, a news assistant for the German newspaper Die Zeit, will be released on Thursday after a nine month detention, The Associated Press reported Thursday. Zhang won’t face any charges.

Zhang’s detention highlights the precarious situation for Chinese nationals working for foreign media, as they often become targets of police harassment and intimidation. Angela Kockritz, the Beijing correspondent for Die Zeit, left China after she also felt pressure from authorities following Zhang’s detention.

Earlier this year, Angela Köckritz wrote about Zhang’s arrest for Die Zeit in a piece titled “They Have Miao.” In the piece, Köckritz details Zhang’s arrest and clashes and intimidation with Chinese police while Köckritz sought Zhang’s release.

During my four years as a correspondent, I’ve often had to write about justice and injustice in China.

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Correspondents say working in China isn’t getting easier

Nearly all foreign correspondents reporting from China say that the country’s working conditions fail to meet international standards, according to a report released Tuesday by the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China.

According to the report, which was based on a survey of 120 members of the correspondents’ club, 96 percent of respondents say that working conditions are “almost never” on par with conditions elsewhere around the globe. Nearly half (44 percent) said conditions in the country held steady compared to last year and a third said they worsened from year to year:

China’s importance in current affairs continues to grow, and foreign journalists’ efforts to chronicle the important events and changes have kept pace. Unfortunately, getting access to the news in China is not getting any easier.

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Survey: For foreign correspondents in China, getting a press card still ‘a privilege rather than a professional right’

In January of this year, the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China conducted an annual survey of members’ visa issues and found that, compared with past years, getting a visa in China was easier for foreign journalists in 2014. In an email, the FCCC reported the findings of the survey, which had 126 responses.

We are disturbed, however, to find that the Chinese authorities are continuing to abuse the press card and visa renewal process in a political manner, treating journalistic accreditation as a privilege rather than a professional right, and punishing reporters and media organizations for the content of their previous coverage if it has displeased the government.

Some of the findings:

– Authorities appeared to use visas as a tool to threaten journalists, causing some to leave the country, one to change jobs and several to miss important stories. Read more

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Why NYT journalists are essentially stuck in China

Good morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Why New York Times journalists can’t leave China

    The country's visa backlog puts people currently stationed there "in an unenviable professional position: Should they leave their posts, they can be pretty sure at this point that their editor won’t be able to replace them." (WP) | "At a news conference in Beijing alongside President Obama, China’s leader, Xi Jinping, appeared to draw a link between unfavorable coverage and access for reporters, saying that the visa problems of news organizations were of their own making." (NYT) | NYT editorial: "A confident regime that considers itself a world leader should be able to handle truthful examination and criticism." (NYT)

  2. Washington Post appends multiple editor's notes to Zakaria columns

    David Folkenflik noticed they were up.

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BBC website blocked throughout China

BBC

The BBC’s website has been subjected to “deliberate censorship” across China in the wake of its coverage of Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution, the network reports.

Weeks ago, the BBC reported that Instagram appeared to be blocked in China, and phrases like “Occupy Central” and “Hong Kong students” were hidden on Twitter searches.

The BBC notes that it has been the subject of “intermittent blackouts” in China while reporting on the country.

Also on Wednesday, Reuters reported that a Chinese official in Hong Kong told foreign journalists to report on the ongoing Umbrella Revolutions demonstrations “objectively”.

Related: Kristen Hare’s Twitter list of journalists covering the Umbrella Revolution

The BBC’s website was most recently blocked in April 2012, during the network’s coverage of activist Chen Guangcheng’s escape, according to the BBC. Read more

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Chinese police officers, paramilitary policemen and plainclothes security personnel prepare to clear Tiananmen Square ahead of an official ceremony in Beijing, China, on May 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

On eve of Tiananmen anniversary, early optimism pushed aside by press, speech crackdown

Chinese police officers, paramilitary policemen and plainclothes security personnel prepare to clear Tiananmen Square ahead of an official ceremony in Beijing, China, on May 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Two years ago in China, during the run-up to the Communist Party’s ritual changing of the guard, there was a heady mood of expectation that the country’s new top leaders might revive long-stalled political reform and maybe, just maybe, reopen the history books on one topic considered taboo: the June 4, 1989 massacre of hundreds of unarmed pro-democracy students in the streets around Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

The reasons for the early optimism were sound enough.

Xi Jinping, the incoming president, and Li Keqiang, who would become prime minister, were new generation leaders. Xi’s father, Xi Zhongxun, a revolutionary hero, was widely believed to have opposed the Tiananmen crackdown. Read more

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As China’s control grows, Hong Kong media freedoms recede

Journalists and their supporters gather outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong, Sunday, March 2, 2014, to show support for press freedoms and the former editor of Ming Pao newspaper, Lau Chun-to, who was assaulted and injured on Feb. 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

They got him as he stepped out of his car one morning in February. Wielding a meat-cleaver, Lau Chun-to’s assailant hacked at his back and legs, then sped away on a motorbike with an accomplice.

The attack on Lau, the former chief editor of the respected local Hong Kong paper Ming Pao, comes on the heels of a steady increase in assaults on the press. Last June, Next Media – the largest media group in Hong Kong – came under a string of attacks. Read more

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Pedestrians walk past the main entrance to the Washington Post , Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2007, in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Washington Post praises rival NYT for China story

The Washington Post

The Washington Post took the unusual step of praising its competitor, The New York Times, for the latter’s story on the wealthy relatives of one of China’s most prominent political figures.

The praise came in an piece by the Editorial Board posted Friday afternoon. The Times’ story, the editorial stated, “struck a welcome blow against an aggressive effort by Chinese authorities to censor such information not just from domestic media but also from the U.S. press.” Read more

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Another Bloomberg News journalist resigns over company’s handling of China story

Jim Romenesko | The New York Times | NPR

A Bloomberg News editor resigned from the company Monday citing the mishandling of an investigative story from China, Jim Romenesko reports.

Ben Richardson, an Asia editor at large, told Romenesko by email that he also left because of what he termed Bloomberg’s misleading statements to the global press that disparaged the journalists who had worked on the story, an investigation into the financial ties between one of China’s wealthiest men and top officials:

Throughout the process, the threat of legal action has hung over our heads if we talked — and still does. That has meant that senior management have had an open field to spin their own version of events.

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