RSF condemns the arrest of 4 Chinese journalists after last month’s protests
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the arrest of four Chinese journalists following the protests against the zero-Covid policy in China and calls for the release of the two of them still detained.
“By arresting and detaining four reporters for the simple fact of being present at the place of the protests, the Chinese regime has sent one more chilling message to those who believe that factual information should be reported even when it contradicts the official narrative.The regime should release two reporters as well as all other journalists and press freedom defenders detained in China, and to drop all charges against them.”
Freelance journalist Siqi Li and Renwu Magazine journalist Wang Xue are reportedly being detained several weeks after the gathering on the Liangma Bridge in Beijing on 27 November, 2022, during the wave of protests against the Chinese regime’s zero-Covid policy.
Beijing News journalist Yang Liu and former Caixin journalist, currently freelance journalist Qin Ziyi, who were also arrested and detained in late December, have been released on bail in late January.
The charges against these four journalists range from “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” to “gathering a crowd to disrupt public order,” for second charge they can be sentenced up to life imprisonment.
On 27 November 2022, thousands of people gathered peacefully in major Chinese cities calling for the end of the government’s stringent zero-Covid policy, which has been used as a pretext by the regime to further increase censorship and surveillance in the past three years.
The immediate repression of the protests resulted in the physical assault of numerous journalists by the police, and the arrest of at least two reporters including BBC’s correspondent Edward Lawrence. In the past two months, the regime has used its pervasive surveillance system to hunt down participants of the White Paper protest and disappear them one by one.
Since taking on the mantle of leadership in 2012, Chinese leader Xi Jinping has launched a crusade against journalists and increased Internet censorship and surveillance to record levels.