News / Asia

China Arrests Journalist Amid Crackdown on Rumors

Reuters
— A Chinese investigative journalist who has accused officials of corruption has been arrested, his lawyer said on Thursday, becoming the latest in a series of government critics to be swept up in Beijing's crackdown on rumors.

Liu Hu, a reporter with the Guangzhou-based newspaper New Express, was arrested on a charge of defamation on Sept. 30, said his lawyer, Zhou Ze. Liu had been detained in late August in the southwestern metropolis of Chongqing on suspicion of “fabricating and spreading rumors.”

China's crackdown on online “rumor-mongering,” widely seen as a tool to halt criticism of the ruling Communist Party, has chilled political discourse, with high-profile bloggers saying they have reined in sensitive postings for fear of detention.

Lawyers and activists called the crackdown a significant, if crude, expansion of powers to police the Internet, and a blow to those who rely on microblogs to disseminate information that is often not monitored as strictly as traditional media.

On July 29, Liu accused Ma Zhengqi, deputy director of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, of dereliction of duty during his time as party secretary of a local district in Chongqing. Liu had posted these allegations on his microblog.

The administration said it had been informed of the accusation but made no further comment, according to the Beijing Times newspaper.

Zhou called the charge against his client a “speech crime” and said the government could be retaliating against Liu because he detailed specific allegations against a wide range of officials, including many senior ones, across many provinces.

Liu's information came from his reporting and through his network, Zhou said, adding that Liu had no reason to suspect the veracity of the content.

“It's impossible that passing on this information constitutes the deliberate spread of false information or the intentional fabrication and transmission of information,” Zhou said. “Therefore it doesn't constitute defamation.”

Liu's microblog account has been deleted.

Officials in Chongqing could not be reached for comment.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has made fighting graft a top theme of his new administration, and has specifically targeted extravagance and waste, seeking to assuage anger over corruption and restore faith in the party.

While the party has encouraged people to use the Internet to expose graft, it has detained activists who have called for officials to publicly disclose their assets.

Zhou said he believes the Chinese government “is somewhat uneasy” about people using the Internet as a tool to fight corruption.

Wary of any threat to its authority or social stability, the party has also stepped up its already tight controls over social media to limit public discussion of sensitive political issues.

In September, the government unveiled tough measures to halt the spread of what it called irresponsible rumors, threatening terms of three years in jail if untrue postings online were widely reposted.

“Weeks after the government passed a new rule criminalizing 'online rumors' - a well-known whistleblower is arrested for defaming officials - the message cannot be clearer, and it is likely to further silence Chinese netizens who are already quite worried,” said Maya Wang, a researcher at Human Rights Watch.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment 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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid