World News

Chinese Media Report Growing Concern About Detained Journalist

Chinese state media have reported growing concern about the fate of a journalist detained by police in southern China last week for his reporting of alleged corruption at a state-owned company.

Chen Youngzhou disappeared last Friday in Guangzhou, where he had written a dozen articles for the New Express newspaper, criticizing the Zoomlion construction company. Zoomlion is based in the south-central Chinese city of Changsha.

Chinese media said police from Changsha detained Chen in Guangzhou on suspicion of damaging the reputation of a business. His whereabouts are unknown.

In reports published Thursday, official news agencies said the Chinese government's media regulator expressed "concern" about the fate of the journalist. The General Association of Press and Publishing (GAPP) said it "firmly supports the media conducting normal reporting activities ... and firmly protects the legal rights of journalists."

Official news agencies also said the central government-backed All China Journalists Association called for the police to handle Chen's case "according to the law, guarantee the journalist's safety and prevent extorting confessions by torture."

In a rare protest against Chinese authorities, the New Express published a front-page message about Chen on Wednesday, saying in large characters "Release Him Please." It followed up on Thursday with a similar front-page plea, saying "Again We Ask For His Release."

The U.S. government's Open Source Center says the tabloid's headline immediately drew attention from Chinese Internet users and became a hot topic on China-based microblogs.

The chief editor of respected Chinese financial magazine Caijing posted a message on Sina Weibo calling Chen's arrest "arbitrary" and saying it creates "fear" among fellow media workers.

He Gang also asked if a reporter from state television network CCTV ought to be arrested for allegedly damaging the reputation of international coffee chain Starbucks. CCTV had been criticizing what it calls the "unreasonably pricey" coffee sold by Starbucks in China since October 20.

Chen's reports in the New Express claimed Zoomlion artificially inflated its profits, which the company said amounted to $7.6 billion last year.

Zoomlion is listed on the Hong Kong and Shenzhen stock exchanges. Since Chen's arrest began making international headlines Wednesday, Zoomlion's shares fell nearly 6 percent.

Chinese police have told state media that Chen fabricated facts about Zoomlion's finances in the stories, which were written between September of last year and August, 2013. The paper says it investigated Chen's reporting and only found one minor factual flaw.

Since Chinese newspapers are subject to state censorship, explicit protests against government policies are usual.

A New Express worker contacted by VOA said all employees were told not to speak with foreign news media, for their own safety. The employee declined to be identified or to provide any further details.

A Thursday editorial in the Global Times, the Communist Party's official mouthpiece, called for Chen's case to be dealt with "according to the law," but stressed that the key issue is whether his report was accurate.

A separate report in the Times, which often reflects government viewpoints, quoted analysts who defended Chen, arguing that even articles with mistaken facts should be protected by the law.

In another high-profile media rights case earlier this year, staff at the relatively outspoken Southern Weekly newspaper in Guangzhou went on a weekl-ong strike to protest government censorship.

That incident grew into a nationwide online protest against China's strict media censorship, with celebrities and other public figures speaking out in support of the newspaper.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has vowed to end widespread corruption in the ruling Communist Party.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdrawsi
Jim Malone
October 09, 2015 12:32 AM
The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

VOA Blogs