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IFJ Press Freedom in China Campaign Bulletin: March 11, 2013

IFJ Press Freedom in China Campaign Bulletin: March 11, 2013

Welcome to IFJ Asia-Pacific’s monthly Press Freedom in China Campaign e-bulletin. The next bulletin will be sent on April 08 2013, and contributions are most welcome.

To contribute news or information, email ifj@ifj-asia.org. To visit the IFJ’s China Campaign page, go to www.ifj.org.

1. Journalists in Hong Kong and China attacked
The International Federation of Journalists condemned two separate attacks on journalists in Hong Kong and Mainland China in February. ARD correspondent Christine Adelhardt and four colleagues were attacked by unidentified assailants on 27 February after they finished filming an urbanization project village in Da Yan Ge Zhuang, Hebei province. The journalists’ cars were followed by four cars which deliberately crashed into the journalists’ cars. Five or six people surrounded their cars smashing the windscreen with baseball bats. Adelhardt said a local resident recognized one of the cars following the journalists as belonging to the village Communist party secretary. A second attack occurred in Sheng Shui, Hong Kong on 28 February. May Tse, photographer of South China Morning Post, was attacked by two suspected “parallel traders” after she took photos of them from a bridge. “One of them slapped my face and hurt my right temple. They pushed me on my chest a few times when I cried out that I’m a female photographer.” Tse said.

2. Macau police detain citizen journalist and delete all records
A Macau citizen journalist, Jason Chao, working for the Macau Concealers which is controlled by a liberal political party in Macau, was detained by police in Macau Tower on 21 February. Chao was filming two protestors who were attempting to hand over a petition letter to Wu Bangguo, Chairman and Party Secretary of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, during his official visit to Macau. Police detained Chao for five hours without an explanation. During the detention, police deleted all images and altered the format of his camcorder. Police also confiscated the petition letters which the protestors distributed to journalists at the scene.

3. Hackers reportedly from China
According to a New York Times report on 18 February 2013, many of hackers targeting the United States are based in China. A 60-page report prepared by a computer expert company Mandiant, said China hosts many sophisticated hacking groups, known to its victims in the United States as “Comment Crew” or “Shanghai Group.” According to the report, the groups are based near military headquarters, People’s Liberation Army base, Unit 61398, on Datong Road in Shanghai. American intelligence officials say they have been tapping activity at the headquarters for years as well as tracking attacks on American corporations, organizations and government agencies. Kevin Mandia, chief executive of Mandiant, said Internet networks have no idea that many of the hacks originate in this one neighbourhood. China has denied the accusations, with spokesperson Hong Lei, saying the accusations are “irresponsible” and “unprofessional”, and “is not helpful for the resolution of the problem.’’ It is reported that the United States government is planning a more aggressive defence against Chinese cyber hacking.

4. Hong Kong journalists received “spearphishing” attacks in China
Preceding the National Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, many Hong Kong journalists complained about receiving “spearphishing” attacks. According to Hong Kong based Ming Pao on March 2, one of its journalists opened an email with the subject privacy-noreply@gaccounts.com to have his email password stolen and he was no longer able to access his email account. The report said the IP address of the sender was IPv6 which is registered in China.

5. Hong Kong CE attempts to silence media viz legal action
Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-Ying was accused of undermining press freedom after he demanded the retraction of an article by a political columnist accusing him of having links with Triad. On 29 January, Joseph Lian Yi-Zheng, former member of the Central Policy Unit, a think tank in Hong Kong, published an article accusing Leung of having links with Triad based on a published article by former Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference delegate Lew Mon-hung in iSun Affairs magazine. Leung then sent a letter to Hong Kong Economic Journal demanding a retraction of the article. The newspaper offered an apology on 5 February but the Editor-in-Chief Chan King-Cheung insisted the apology was addressed to readers and refused to retract the article. After the apology was published, Leung said he accepted. However the apology has drawn an outcry from media associations, human rights activists and pan-democratic lawmakers.

6. Hong Kong Buildings Department conceal information
Hong Kong Buildings Department refused to provide information related to legal action infringing on the public’s right to information. According to Ming Pao the Buildings Department refused to reveal the identity of one of the defendants involved in the illegal construction of former Secretary of Hong Kong, Henry Tang’s private house in Kowloon Tong. The department concealed the identity of one of the defendants, Lisa Kuo Yu-chin, the wife of Henry Tang. Media groups have criticized the department of infringing on the people’s right to information.

7. Taiwan politician forced to close Weibo account
Hsieh Chang-ting, the former Chairperson of the Democratic Progressive Party in Taiwan, opened a Weibo account in China on 19 February. According to reports, on 21 February 2013, Hsieh opened a Sina Weibo account – a popular social networking tool in China.. He immediately received more than 60,000followers, but with just a few hours’ notice his account was suspended.

asiapacific.ifj.org
ifj@ifj-asia.org
ifjchina@ifj-asia.org

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries

Find the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific

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