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News: Hong Kong Reporter Detained in China

Awaiting a Democratic Hong Kong

There are a lot of pro-china people out there that tells us that we should trust China, that Hong Kong people should not be afraid of losing our freedoms, and every so often we are reminded that no matter how much China "opens" information is not part of the package. And of course there are people who will say that the journalist deserves to be placed in jail because he "knows,' that what he is doing is illegal, and that's just asking for trouble. Which really is the tenants of self censorship. Not to test the line, never do anything offensive and stick to the easy news. Being a journalist is not about telling the truth, it's just a job. And if you try to break that comfortable self censored line, you end up in jail.

This whole new understanding about the concept of slowly being censored by the media organization and the journalists themselves through indirect government pressure of punishment is so clear to me now. Mainly, the reason the government doesn't censure everyone but specific targets gives others the feeling of freedom but at the same time makes examples of those who don't censure themselves and their behavior. It's like an indirect pact between the government and the media. If you don't cross the line we will give you certain ammounts of freedom, but if you try to do more than is acceptable then it will be dealt with.

People have said censorship is a problem, the way i am looking at it, self censorship is probably more damaging because it's these unsaid "relationships," and "understandings," that is harder to pin down and find examples of. And jailing journalists is just part of that cycle. It is the first step of controlling information that has be much larger fall out. It's not this one person who is in jail, it's a whole culture of silence that gets created when this happens and we allow for it to happen.

Hong Kong Reporter Detained in China

30 May 2005

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A Hong Kong-based reporter for Singapore's largest English language daily has been detained in China for allegedly obtaining state secrets.

Ching Cheong, the China correspondent for Singapore's Straits Times newspaper, is said to have been arrested on April 22 in the southern city of Guangzhou.

Mr. Ching's wife, Mary Lau, told Hong Kong journalists that her husband had traveled to Guangzhou to obtain transcripts of secret interviews with former Chinese Prime Minister Zhao Ziyang.

Mr. Zhao was purged from the Communist Party, and placed under house arrest until his death in January for opposing the bloody Tiananmen crackdown in 1989.

Irene Ngoo, a vice president of Singapore Press Holdings, which publishes the Straits Times, says the Chinese Embassy in Singapore said Mr. Ching is assisting security authorities in an investigation into a matter "not related" to the newspaper.

"We have no cause to doubt that, throughout his stint of reporting and commenting on China, he has conducted himself with utmost professionalism," said Ms. Ngoo. "We are in close contact with his wife in Hong Kong, and are providing her with every support and assistance."

Mr. Ching previously worked for a pro-Beijing newspaper, Wen Wei Poin, in Hong Kong, but left shortly after China crushed pro-democracy student demonstrations in Beijing's Tiananmen Square in June 1989. Hundreds are thought to have died during the incident.

Earlier this month, a Chinese reporter in Hunan province Shi Tao was sentenced to 10 years in prison for providing state secrets to foreigners. A New York Times researcher has been detained in China since October for allegedly revealing state secrets.

The Committee to Protect Journalists in New York ranks China as the world's top jailer of journalists, with at least 42 reporters jailed last year.




beijing says he's admitted to "spying"...i wonder how/why they got that info...

...let's see if the hk gov't will get away with not doing anything...


they will. Hong Kong is the only government run by a major power that can get away with acting like the governing power doesn't exist. But it does, sometimes. Strange.

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