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China 7 January 2005

Official calls Reporters Without Borders "irresponsible" as dissident journalist arrested

Reporters Without Borders expressed shock after a top Chinese official called the organisation’s report on China "irresponsible", as the arrest was confirmed of one journalist.

Foreign ministry spokesman Kong Quan on 6 January referred to several bodies, including the worldwide press freedom organisation, as "unprofessional" and "irresponsible" for their reports on human rights in China.

Confirming the detention of dissident journalist, Yang Tianshui, Reporters Without Borders said it was shocked that the top official should attempt to deny the poor state of press freedom in China when 27 journalists were in prison.

The organisation called on the foreign ministry to take steps to halt the wave of arrests of dissidents rather than wasting energy on making such sanctimonious statements.

Chinese police on 24 December 2004 arrested dissident writer and journalist Yang Tianshui in Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang Province in the south-east. The Public Security Bureau accuses him of "incitement to subversion". He is believed to have been transferred to Nanjing, his hometown, 200 kms north of Hangzhou. His family still has no news of him.

Yang, 43, is a well-known dissident journalist. He spent ten years in prison for "counter-revolutionary activities" from 1990 to 2000 after publicly speaking out against the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. He was again imprisoned, for two weeks in 2004, for articles marking the 15th anniversary of the crushing of the student protests.

He has posted numerous articles on the Internet, and in the Chinese edition of the daily Epoch Times, which is published abroad. He recently wrote articles about torture of human rights activists and official protection of some criminals.

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