Xinhua Reports on Assaults, Detentions of Journalists in Fujian Province (story in Chinese)

October 8, 2004

Xinhua has published an article that chronicles incidences of detention and physical assaults on reporters in Fujian province going back to 1997. The abuses described in the report are generally limited to those committed by private citizens. The article cites a "relevant individual" as saying that, while one cause for the repeated incidents of reporters being beaten is corruption in news agencies, the main reason is that there continue to be agencies and individuals that see "supervision of public opinion" as a threat to their "illegitimate interests."

According to the Communist Party, supervision of public opinion is "the masses of people going through the news media to publicly implement democratic supervision of the Party and the government." In practice, however, ‘‘supervision of public opinion’’ means that all news media in China must serve the Party in two ways. First, the media monitors public sentiment and reports on certain topics (and censors others) in a manner that allows the Party to manipulate public opinion. For more information on this, see the CECC's 2004 Annual Report's section on Freedom of Expression.

In August 2004, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued a report entitled "New Journalism, New Threats," that also examined the upsurge in assaults on reporters in China. The report found that "as the media in China become market-oriented—and as journalists report more aggressively on crime and corruption—they face a new danger: violent retribution from individuals or groups implicated in their reports."