Journalism in China a Perilous Profession

Journalism in China a Perilous Profession

By Gisela Sommer &
Quincy Yu
Epoch Times Staff
Created: Aug 14, 2011 Last
Updated:
Aug 16, 2011

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Related articles: China
> Regime

Several recent incidents of assault highlight the continuous perils
investigative reporters in China face in their daily work.

Conditions for
reporters in China are harsh. Not only are journalists under the constant
watchful eye of the regime’s Central Propaganda Department, which can have them
demoted or fired for reporting inconvenient
news, reporters also face violence from private enterprises that try to prevent
negative news about their news operations from getting out.

Even state
propaganda channels are sometimes not immune. On Aug. 8, several reporters from
the Communist Party’s television mouthpiece CCTV said they were attacked and had
their camera smashed by dozens of employees at the Fujia Dahua Petrochemical
Company in Dalian City, Liaoning Province,
where they went to investigate a possible toxic chemical leak.

Reports said that management had instructed
employees to beat up the reporters.

Fujia Dahua is a private enterprise,
but political connections can be complicated and far-reaching, possibly making
this a “sensitive case” and a taboo for investigative
reporters.

Corruption is generally behind such cases, as Chinese
businessmen and officials work together to protect their interests.

Some
bloggers speculated, “Some big shots must be behind the Fujian Dahua
company.”

The truth is hard to come by in China, but some brave Chinese
reporters are still probing for it, albeit at a cost.

“Journalists in
China are constantly under physical threat and danger,” Meng Lang, cofounder of
Independent Chinese PEN Center told Voice of America (VOA) in an Aug. 5
report.

“The interference with journalists’ rights to interview people
and conduct investigations in China has become increasingly more severe,” he
said.

On Aug. 3, three reporters from Guangzhou Daily and Southern
Metropolis Daily were attacked while reporting a fire in a factory in Foshan
City, Guangdong Province, according to VOA.

A
security guard let them in, saying a manager would talk to them. But once
inside the factory the reporters were surrounded by a gang of men, who accused
them of breaking into private
property.

On the same day, two reporters from a TV station in
Yichuan City, Jiangxi Province were also violently assaulted while shooting news
of a road surface collapse caused by a construction company’s demolition
work.

The company’s staff smashed the reporter’s camera and attacked them
with safety helmets and bricks. Both reporters were hospitalized.

Wang Keqin, known as China’s number one muckraking
reporter, told Modern Express in a Dec. 5, 2010 article that he could not
remember how many times he felt his life was in danger when covering
news.

Meng, from the Independent PEN Center, also said that China’s human
rights situation has gotten worse in many areas, and this actually runs parallel
with journalists’ working situation.

Since even mainstream journalists
are being treated this way, it’s even tougher for activists and dissidents to survive in China, Meng said.

chinareports@epochtimes.com

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