Information blackout ahead of Tiananmen anniversary condemned

Beijing, June 4 (IANS/EFE): Reporters Without Borders (RWB) has condemned the violation of freedom of information in the run-up to the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre in the form of detention of journalists, censorship on social media and rendering Google and other web services inaccessible.

"Journalists, bloggers and other news providers are being subjected to harassment that is increasing as the Tiananmen anniversary approaches," RWB Christophe Delorie, secratary-general of RWB, said in a statement.

"We call on the authorities to assume their responsibility by freeing those who have been detained and by lifting the taboo that still exists on any reference to the massacre," the RWB stated, adding that "the Chinese public has the right to know the truth that has been hidden from it for the past 25 years".

Among those arrested are Wang Jianmin and Guo Zhingxiao, two Hong Kong-based journalists working for Asia Week.

Vivian Wu, a well-known journalist in the South China Morning Post, is also believed to be under government detention since May 30.

Another journalist, Gao Yu, who won the Unesco award in 1997, went missing April 23 only to reappear on a television broadcast two weeks later stating that she had "harmed state interest", in what appeared to be a forced confession.

RWB, in its statement, has also mentioned the arrest of Xin Jian, a correspondent for Japanese newspaper Nihon Keizai Shimbun.

The press release has also condemned the rendering of Google and other web portals like Gmail or Picassa inaccessible since June 1 ahead of the anniversary.

On June 3 and 4, 1989, hundreds and perhaps thousands of civilians died at the hands of the Chinese army during the operation to dismantle pro-democracy protests, that had Beijing's Tiananmen Square as its epicentre for seven weeks. 


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