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China 26 September 2002

French president and prime minister asked to speak up for press

On the occasion of the visit to France, from 26 to 28 September, of the Chinese Prime Minister, Zhu Rongji, Reporters Without Borders has written to Jacques Chirac and Jean-Pierre Raffarin asking them to "do all they can to ensure that the question of the freedom of the press does not remain the poor relation in discussions with China". "Human rights, and especially freedom of expression, are still today one of the major forgotten aspects of the opening-up professed by this country. But the complacent silence of China’s international interlocutors on these issues is just as serious and reprehensible. More than a sad mark of indifference, it amounts to tacit support for the practices of the Chinese regime," adds Robert Ménard, Secretary-General of the organisation.

China ranks fourth among the jailers of journalists globally, with to date at least 11 journalists in prison for having exercised their right to seek, receive and impart information. In addition, intimidation, censorship, confiscation of their publications or purely and simply deportation, make up the day-to-day experience of foreign journalists and correspondents working in this country.

China is also the number one ravager of freedom of information on the Internet. Thirty cyber-dissidents are currently in prison for having published information regarded by the authorities as over-critical. The promulgation in 2000 of drastic legislation on the Internet was moreover the starting-point for an unprecedented crackdown, which led to the suspension of numerous web sites and of two search engines, Google and Altavista, a wave of closures of Internet bars - more than 2000 in June this year - and strict surveillance of Internet users.

In this country
3 June - China
“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
Foreign reporters prevented from working in Sichuan a year after earthquake
24 April - China
Concern that detained Tibetan magazine editor is being tortured
25 March - China
Government blocks access to YouTube

in the annual report
China - Annual report 2008
China - Annual report 2007
China - Annual report 2006

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Fact-finding visit by Reporters Without Borders to Swat “valley of fear”
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Asia press releases
3 June - North Korea
Pyongyang judges asked to be lenient with two American journalists
3 June - Afghanistan
US forces arrest a journalist in Khost
2 June - China
Blocking of Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Blogger deprives Chinese of Web 2.0
2 June - Sri Lanka
Press freedom activist badly beaten in Colombo, hospitalised
29 May - Sri Lanka
Journalists trying to cover fate of Tamils are threatened, obstructed