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.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs