Statement on World Press Freedom Day 2023

(Washington)—The Chairs of the bipartisan and bicameral Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), Representative Christopher Smith (R-NJ) and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), issued the following statement on World Press Freedom Day.

“There are more journalists, bloggers, citizen journalists, and media professionals jailed in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) than anywhere else globally and the media environment in China is among the most restrictive in the world. The Chinese government actively censors news and information in China and seeks to restrict criticism of its policies worldwide. Nothing good happens in the dark, as authoritarians from Beijing to Moscow hide their corruption and abuses while shaping global narratives to fit their vile purposes. That is why, now more than ever, securing press freedoms must be a critical component of U.S.-PRC relations as they are necessary for exposing atrocities, stopping forced labor, thwarting global pandemics, publishing trusted economic data, and creating a deeper, more honest understanding between the American and Chinese people. 

“On this World Press Freedom Day, we honor the fierce courage and sacrifice of those in China who bravely seek to inform, expose, and educate despite intimidation, censorship, and arbitrary arrest. Given the critical importance of the free flow of news and information, we call on the Biden Administration to lead a sustained and global effort to gain the immediate and unconditional release of all unjustly detained journalists, bloggers, media professionals and citizen-journalists in the PRC and in Hong Kong, including Jimmy Lai, Huang Qi, Cheng Lei, Zhang Zhan, Erkin Tursun, Ilham Tohti, Huang Xueqin, Li Xinde, Chen Jieren, Yang Hengjun, and Qurban Mamut among many others.” 

Additional case information for journalists detained in China can be found on the CECC’s searchable Political Prisoner Database