News / Asia

Chinese Newspaper Issues Second Plea for Reporter's Release

FILE - A Chinese visa applicant reads a Beijing newspaper as he waits outside the U.S. Embassy compound.
FILE - A Chinese visa applicant reads a Beijing newspaper as he waits outside the U.S. Embassy compound.
VOA News
A Chinese newspaper has issued its second front page plea in as many days calling for the release of one of its journalists, who was arrested for exposing alleged corruption at a state-owned company.
 
Chen Youngzhou is being held on charges of "damaging the reputation of a business" after writing a series of reports in the New Express tabloid claiming the Zoomlion construction company artificially inflated its profits.
 
Zoomlion, which is listed on the Hong Kong and Shenzhen stock exchanges, reported $7.6 billion in profits last year. Since Chen's arrest began making international headlines on Wednesday, Zoomlion's shares have fallen nearly 6 percent.
 
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. Few other details have been given on the charges. The paper says it has investigated the reporting and found only one minor factual flaw.
 
The case has threatened to become a wider concern for authorities; many Chinese Internet users have expressed sympathy for Chen. The official Global Times said Thursday the publicity department of the Communist Party's powerful Central Committee and its main anti-corruption body are now involved in the case.
 
In a rare protest against government policies, the New Express published a sharply worded editorial on Wednesday, slamming police for arresting Chen and claiming there was no evidence he committed a crime.
 
The small paper, located in the southern city of Guangzhou, continued its protest on Thursday with a large headline stating: "Again We Ask For His Release." The article said the case should be handled under the law and that journalists should not be detained without charges first being laid out.
 
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.
 
Meanwhile, Chinese state media called Chen's detention a test of the media's role in China.
 
An editorial in the Global Times, the Communist Party's official mouthpiece, on Thursday 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.
 
This is not the first time that New Express articles have aroused controversy. Another of its reporters was arrested earlier this year after calling for an official investigation of the activities of a senior government official in the megacity of Chongqing, in southwestern China.
 
President Xi Jinping has vowed to end widespread corruption in the ruling Communist Party, but he is also seen as a leader of those who want to arrest and prosecute any individual involved in exposing official corruption.
 
A recently enacted party rule calls for up to three years' imprisonment for Internet users whose "defamatory" messages are widely reposted online.
 
Since Chinese newspapers are tightly controlled by the state, explicit protests against government policies are rare.
 
In one case earlier this year, staff at the relatively outspoken Southern Weekly newspaper in Guangzhou went on a weeklong 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.
 
This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Mandarin service.
 

You May Like

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video Survivor Video Testimonies Recount Horrors of Guatemalan Genocide

During a conflict that spanned more than three decades, tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans were killed More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs