Chinese Media Looks at the Hazards of Being a Journalist in China

November 15, 2004

Several news outlets in China have recently carried articles about the difficulties journalists in China face.

  • The Legal Morning News, Jiangnan Times, and Yancheng Evening News (stories in Chinese) each carried articles about Wang Keqin. Wang, a journalist known for investigative reports on crime and corruption, gained notoriety in 2002 when a subject of one of his exposes put a bounty on his head of over US$600,000. Wang recently returned to Beijing following a journalism fellowship at Hong Kong University, and the reports indicate that Wang continues to feel so threatened that he is unable to leave his office to engage in investigative reporting: "Other people think about how to live better. I think about how I can continue living, how can I protect the safety of myself and my family." The reports also note that his exposes have had little actual impact: "He published 'The Inside Story of the Beijing Taxi Monopoly', but the Beijing taxi monopoly continues as before. He published 'Exposing the Inside Story on the Election of Evil Persons', but was fired for doing so."
  • An opinion piece in the Xinjing Bao (story in Chinese) also addressed the plight of Wang Keqin, but expanded the discussion to the difficulties facing all those working in China media. The piece cited a study conducted last year that found 43% of China's 1,000,000 media workers do not have a labor contract, salary, employee ID card, reporter license, or social security.
  • In another recent article, the Xinjing Bao (story in Chinese) also reported that in a survey of almost 15,000 reporters, half said they had experienced varying degrees of obstruction when trying to carry out interviews, ranging from having their equipment damaged to being physically assaulted and illegally detained.