Forced “vacations” for Chinese bloggers ahead of Tiananmen anniversary

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the “vacations” under police escort that the Chinese authorities have been arranging for certain bloggers ahead of the 29th anniversary of the massacre of demonstrators in Tiananmen Square on 4 June 1989.

As the world prepares to mark the anniversary, several Chinese bloggers have gone missing or have suddenly “gone on vacation.” A similar wave of disappearances happens every year in the run-up to the now completely-censored anniversary of the event in which more 1,000 people were killed.

Hu Jia, who was awarded RSF’s Press Freedom Prize in 2007 and the Sakharov Prize in 2008, told the Epoch Times press group that he would be “under soft detention” in Hebei province from 1 to 5 June.

Radio Free Asia reports that the authorities invited political commentator He Depu to take a trip to an unknown destination that began yesterday. Cha Jianguo, who writes for the Independent Chinese PEN Centre, has reportedly been under house arrest sine 28 May after turning down a “vacation” offer.

“We call on the Chinese authorities to put an end to this practice, which prevents foreign journalists from contacting bloggers and thereby deprives them of the sources they need for stories linked to the commemoration of the Tiananmen anniversary,” said Cédric Alviani, the head of RSF’s East Asia desk.

The Chinese government has long been in the habit of giving dissidents a “trip out of town” under police escort in the run-up to events that could give them forum, such as the Olympic Games, a G20 summit and Communist Party congresses. Because of a lack of transparency and pressure on the victims, it is impossible to know exactly how many people are affected.

One of the world’s biggest jailers of professional and non-professional journalists, with more than 50 currently detained, China is ranked 176th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2018 World Press Freedom Index.

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Updated on 04.06.2018