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China / 中国 20 March 2008

Authorities obstruct foreign journalists, step up controls and propaganda in Tibet / 外国记者进入西藏更加困难,政府方面的控制和宣传却进一步加强

Reporters Without Borders is outraged by the methods being used by the Chinese authorities to obstruct foreign journalists trying to cover the situation in the Tibetan regions, and calls for the immediate and unconditional return of the foreign press to Tibet and to nearby provinces with a sizable Tibetan population.

At the same time, the jamming of international radio stations has been stepped up in Tibet and Internet café owners are being forced to increase the surveillance of clients, while government propaganda continues to rage at the "Dalai Lama’s clique" and foreign news media.

"The Chinese authorities are in the process of dealing with the problem of Tibetan demonstrations by means of force and silence," Reporters Without Borders said. "After ridding Tibet and the neighbouring regions of undesirable observers - foreign journalists and tourists - the security forces are crushing the protests without the international community being able to watch."

The press freedom organisation added: "For the repression in Tibet to end, the United Nations must demand the return of foreign journalists and the dispatch of independent observers."

Reporters Without Borders has recorded more than 40 serious violations of the rights of foreign journalists since 10 March. They have been prevented from working freely in the cities of Lhasa, Beijing, Chengdu and Xining, as well as in other places in the provinces of Gansu, Sichuan and Qinghai.

One of the cases cited by the Foreign Correspondents Club of China is that of a Finnish TV crew that was arrested on 17 March in Xiahe (in Gansu province), where there had been Tibetan demonstrations against the Chinese government. The TV crew was threatened and its video recordings were confiscated despite its protests. "You don’t want to know what will happen if you don’t show us the footage," one of the policemen told reporter Katri Makkonen.

Police forced journalists working for British television channel ITV to leave Xiahe the previous day after stopping them and taking a note of their names several times. They were also filmed by plain-clothes police. ITV correspondent John Ray said their Chinese driver was "terrified" when the police took down the details of his driver’s licence and vehicle licence number.

Police in Chengdu (the capital of Sichuan province) prevented journalists working for US television network ABC from filming in a Tibetan district on 16 March. The police told them to keep moving and made them leave in a taxi.

Correspondent Louisa Lim of US National Public Radio was turned back at several police checkpoints as she tried to travel to Xiahe. She was then followed for about 300 km by an unmarked police car until she arrived at an airport. At least two French reporters suffered the same fate in this region adjoining Tibet. Several reporters and photographers working for the Associated Press news agency were also prevented from working freely.

Spence Palermo, a US documentary filmmaker, was sequestered in his hotel room in Xiahe on 14 March to prevent him from seeing Tibetan protests. In an account he gave to CNN, he said several hundred soldiers were sent to Labrang monastery, where he had just spent several days. BBC reporters were denied access to the village of Taktser in Qinghai province, where the Dalai Lama comes from. The village is surrounded by police,

Journalists were also prevented from freely covering a small demonstration held in Beijing University on 17 March by Tibetan students, who lit candles. Dozens of the demonstrators were arrested.

In Tibet, Internet café owners have been ordered to prevent all "state secrets," including photos and videos, from being sent abroad. At the same time, the telephone service is still subject to extensive disruptions. Despite the blackout, some pictures of the recent protests continue to circulate and Reporters Without Borders was able to obtain footage of Tibetans who were shot dead in Lhasa and Amdo.

The Tibetan press is relaying violent statements by officials, including comments today by Zhang Qingli, the first secretary of the Communist Party of Tibet, talking of a "death struggle [with] the Dalai clique" and describing the Dalai Lama as "a wolf wrapped in a habit." Raidi, another Tibetan Communist Party leader, described the foreign press coverage as "outrageous and ill-motivated."

While state-owned Lhasa TV broadcast footage of the "agitators" behind the protests, the official Xinhua news agency reported that more than 100 demonstrators, described as rioters, had surrendered to the authorities. A Shanghai journalist told Reporters Without Borders that the Chinese media have been told by the Propaganda Department to use only Xinhua’s reports about the situation in Tibet.

Jamming of international radio stations has increased since the start of the protests. The director of Voice of Tibet, which is based in India, told Reporters Without Borders that the Chinese authorities have stepped up their use of small jamming stations located near cities to prevent the population from hearing of its programmes.

As Reporters Without Borders noted in Tibet in 2006, the authorities broadcast Chinese-language programmes and low-pitched noises, such as drumming and aeroplane noises, on the same frequencies as the Tibetan stations based abroad. Voice of Tibet has increased its daily broadcasts by two hours.

(JPEG)
Jamming station in Lhasa
(JPEG)
Jamming station near Lhasa

无国界记者谴责中国政府阻止外国记者采访报道发生在西藏的暴力事件。我们强烈要求中国政府立即放开对外国记者进入西藏及其它藏区的限制。中国政府在西藏加强了对外国电台的干扰,而拉萨的网吧都收到了加强管理的通知。同时,中国政府也加强了批判“达赖喇嘛集团”和“不负责任”的外国媒体的宣传攻势。

“北京方面正在通过武力来控制和解决西藏的抗议事件。在把所有不受欢迎的外来观察者们都驱逐出西藏和其它藏区后,中国的安全力量把西藏的抗议事件隔离到所有观察家的视线之外。联合国应该给中国施加压力以使外国记者重回西藏,并且往西藏派遣独立观察员。”无国界记者发表声明。

3月20日,中国政府将德国《时代周报》的记者乔治·布鲁姆(Georg Blume)和奥地利记者克里斯丁·库弗(Kristin Kupfer)驱逐出西藏。“一名中国高级官员威胁我们说将吊销我们的签证。”布鲁姆对德新社说。在与中国警方周旋了五天之后,他们最终还是被强制乘坐火车离开西藏。也是在这一周,《经济学人》杂志的记者麦杰斯(James Milles)和一组大约15名香港记者也在中国警方的压力下被迫离开拉萨。

从3月10日以来,无国界记者共计统计到40多次外国记者被中国警方干预工作,禁止他们在拉萨、北京、成都、西宁以及甘肃、四川、青海等省的地方自由采访。

在中国的外国记者俱乐部说3月17日曾有一小组芬兰电视记者在甘肃省夏河被当地警察逮捕。记者们的安全遭到威胁,他们的设备被没收。“如果你不交出你的摄像器材,后果自负。”一名警官这样威胁记者马克南姆(Katri Makkonen)。

同样在夏河,3月16日,英国ITV电视台的几名记者在被警察发现身份之后被强制要求离开。便衣警察录下了这些英国记者的行踪。其中记者琼斯∙芮(John Ray)说他们的中国司机在被警察查看车牌和驾驶证时被吓得魂飞魄散。

成都警察在3月16日阻止了美国ABC电视台的几名记者在一个藏族聚居区拍摄,将他们强行塞进出租车送走。

美国国家电台的女记者路易莎∙里姆(Louisa Lim)在试图前往夏河的途中被警察成功拦截,接下来她被一辆挂普通车牌的警车跟随了300公里,一直到她到机场为止。另外还有两名法国记者在这一地区经历了同样的事情。美联社的几名摄影记者和文字记者也同样被警察干扰而不能自由工作。

一名美国记录片导演斯潘斯∙帕勒莫(Spence Palermo)3月14日被软禁在他在夏河的宾馆房间内以防止他参加藏族的抗议游行。在他提供给CNN的资料中,他说上百名士兵包围了扎布轮寺。几名 BBC的记者则在前往达赖喇嘛出生的村庄采访时被拦截,位于青海的这个小村庄已经被警察团团包围。

此外,记者们也没能采访到3月17日发生在北京大学的一次小型的由藏族学生组织的静坐活动,学生们点起了蜡烛。但事后参加的十几名学生都被传讯问话。

在西藏,网吧的老板们收到命令要求阻止一切人向外国泄漏发送“国家机密”,尤其是照片和视频资料。手记服务依然没有完全恢复。尽管如此,还是有一些最新的图片被传了出来,无国界记者就收到了一些在拉萨和安多藏族人中枪身亡的图片。

西藏的媒体则强烈谴责“达赖喇嘛分裂分子集团”破坏社会稳定,说达赖喇嘛是“披着喇嘛袈裟的狼”,这是一场由西藏党委书记张庆黎在3月19日发起的宣传运动。而藏族主席向巴平错则指责外国媒体的报道不负责任。拉萨电视台则播放骚乱分子的录像,官方新华社则报道说100多名骚乱分子自首。一名上海记者则向我们确认说中国媒体都收到中宣部的命令要求在报道西藏问题时只能用新华社的通稿。

骚乱开始以来,外国电台在西藏地区被进一步干扰。据西藏之音的负责人对我们说,中国政府在拉萨周边设置了100多个无线发射站以干扰他们的信号从而阻止人们收听他们的节目。就像我们在2006年发现的一样,中国政府使用与外国电台同样的波段发射中文节目或者是音乐和噪音比如鼓乐和飞机噪音来干扰外国电台的信号。为此,基地在印度的西藏之音电台每天增加了两个小时向西藏发送节目。




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“Tank Man” photo displayed outside Chinese embassy in Paris on eve of Tiananmen Square massacre
2 June - China
All references to Tiananmen Square massacre closely censored for 20 years
12 May - China
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24 April - China
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25 March - China
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