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ICC Note

As the government of China continues to tighten the reigns on individual freedoms, Christians in underground house churches are at a heightened risk for being arrested and abused.

Growing Crackdown On Chinese Media

Asian America Initiative

To read the full story, click here: Growing Crackdown on Chinese Media

THE ISSUE:
The Chinese government’s toughest crackdown on public expression since the Tiananmen Square Massacre on its own state media and “unapproved” private Internet users has led to the recent suspension or closure of one of China ’s most respected investigative journals. The “ideological education campaign” was initiated 16 months ago, as China ’s leader Hu Jintao solidified power and has grown in intensity during the past year. In addition to closure of state-sanctioned publications exposing government corruption and improprieties, websites and blogs have been increasingly censored [with the assistance of American companies such as Google and Yahoo]. New monitoring devices for cell phones are designed to monitor text messages that contain social reform or political issues.

Concerned about growing rural unrest, a new five year national economic plan announced by Communist Party leaders emphasizes improving the plight of some 800 million impoverished rural residents – two-thirds of China ’s population. According to the January 27, 2006 Washington Post, China’s leaders cite a “growing national threat” caused by thousands of rural protests, some turning violent, caused by the land grabs and collusion between Party officials and business cronies. However, the rural reforms appear to lack substance and affordability as the Government continues a massive increase in military spending. Another substantial hindrance is the ongoing lack of accountability among well-connected Party officials which undermines enforcement of anti-corruption decrees.

Ideological Education Campaign:
According to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, China is the world’s leading jailer of journalists with 32 imprisoned as of the end of 2005. Hu Jintao’s crackdown on all forms of free expression, especially aimed at state-controlled journals, is part of a systematic offense coordinated by the government’s Central Propaganda Department. The official Xinhua news agency has selected the campaign as its Number One Story of 2005. Xinhua described it as, “a massive political and ideological education drive among more than 68 million CPC [Communist Party of China] members to maintain their moral and socialist ethical superiority, a new, great project to promote Party construction.”

The campaign was analyzed by Associated Press on the January 26, 2006: “While the ruling Communist Party says corruption is the biggest threat to its existence, it is wary of whistle blowers who might challenge its absolute authority.” The Party’s fear of public information is especially pronounced in potential exposure of the role of corruption by local and high level Party officials and police brutality and torture in rural peasant protest incidents. The Christian Science Monitor reported on January 3, 2006 that the respected Beijing News was closed for its reports on violent anti-government disputes in Hebei Province , and for publishing independent stories on the massive chemical spill by a state-owned factory that poisoned the Songhua River in Manchuria .

To read the full story, click here: Growing Crackdown on Chinese Media