An Open Statement Condemns Regime’s Official Media

March 20, 2009 Updated: October 1, 2015

Beijing journalist Ling Cangzhou (courtesy of Ling Cangzhou)
Beijing journalist Ling Cangzhou (courtesy of Ling Cangzhou)
Twenty-eight Chinese journalists and lawyers issued a joint statement on March 18 condemning the lies and false reports publicized by Chinese official media over the past 60 years.

Journalist Ling Cangzhou and 27 other Chinese professionals initiated the statement entitled, “Fairwell! Propaganda and Lies.” This followed an earlier statement, “Boycott CCTV, Refuse Brainwashing” to further criticize the Chinese mouthpieces such as the People’s Daily, Chinese Central TV Station (CCTV), among others. They propose that the public refuse to listen to, watch, read, or purchase these media services. They also suggest that Chinese protest and expose these official media’s behavior by phone, fax, email, blog, forum, and text messaging. Individually, the 28 participants will no longer report false information, cover news, participate in interviews or serve as audiences for these official media.

Mr. Ling, a long time Beijing reporter indicated that the statement is a peaceful protest by those who are dissatisfied with the current status of freedom of speech in China. He said, “The ruling party has governed China for 60 years. I think there should be at least a review of the freedom of media and speech in China over the past 60 years.”

The statement condemns the People’s Daily and CCTV for “partially reporting, delaying, and ignoring major incidents such as various protest activities, disasters, and other news of a negative image of the ruling party. Furthermore, CCTV even praised the quality of the Sanlu infant formula (melamine contaminated powdered milk) and used propaganda to its best.”

The statement also calls for people to use all possible media means such as the Internet, blogs, emails, and text messages to spread articles exposing facts in line with China law.

Cartoonist Wei Ke said during an interview with Radio Free Asia, “We take an uncooperative attitude to protest. In fact, ignorance is a strong message. If the general public would take this approach, it will help to change the environment in freedom of press and speech.”

From time to time, there are media reports that expose the true nature of the news. However, officials often punish relevant reporters and media. For instance, Chinese Financial Times was allegedly violating the law and was banned from broadcasting for three months after its last fall report on China Agricultural Bank’s irregularities.

As indicated by journalist Jiang Weiping who was imprisoned due to a report on corruption, “It takes courage to expose the wrongdoings of the authorities. However, it is no excuse for Chinese journalists to avoid their responsibilities.”

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