Big brother part one

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‘At least I am free to write this story here, not like in China…’

During 23 years with the BBC, and 40 years in journalism, our Editor Welshman Phil Parry has been lucky enough to work in a relatively free environment for the media, but now evidence is mounting that the opposite is the case in one huge country – China.

 

I have always considered myself lucky.

We live in a democracy where the flow of information is not state controlled – but other journalists are less fortunate.

Around the world we are seeing more and more examples of autocratic regimes trying to impose control on the media, so that the details which come to the public’s notice are not to be trusted.

Sadly ever more instances of this egregious practice are coming to light in one particular country – China – and today there is MORE glaring evidence of it.

Since taking power in 2012 the country’s leader, Xi Jinping, has made clear that informing the public with objective information is not the media’s priority – rather it is to “safeguard the party’s authority” and “closely align themselves with the party leadership in thought, politics and action”.

This attempt to control the media extends across the globe, and China has been accused by the UK and US governments of launching a huge number of cyber-attacks against, among others, journalists.

The All China Journalists Association is fighting back

According to these governments, Chinese officials “repress critics, compromise government institutions and steal trade secrets”.

Journalists in China, however, are fighting back.

For the All China Journalists’ Association (ACJA), “Legitimate news-gathering is a journalist’s right”, and the authorities must not “crudely obstruct journalists from conducting their work in a normal manner in order to control public sentiment”.

An anchor at China Central Television was amazed

Objective reports, the association said, can help “alleviate public anxiety” and “protect the people’s right to know”.

Perhaps the ACJA might have in mind recent incidents, like those that have happened to China Central Television (CCTV).

The anchor of a live telecast for CCTV could not hide her on-air surprise when colleagues reporting from the site of a deadly explosion were shoved away by the Chinese police.

There was rough handling by the police said a journalist at the China Media Group

In another incident a reporter for the overarching China Media Group (CMG), (CCTV’s parent company), posted a video online of her team’s similarly rough handling by police at the scene.

Pointed comments came quickly on social media (as they often do around controversial events), but the state (or its supporters) quickly jumped in.

Have Chinese spies penetrated the highest reaches of British society?

Other information about how the Chinese state has behaved is also disturbing.

Only yesterday we heard that two men have been charged with spying for China after allegedly supplying information which could be “useful to an enemy”.

One of the men used to be a UK parliamentary researcher, and this is particularly worrying as it shows how far (allegedly) the tentacles of the Chinese state have spread.

‘Re-education camps’ are used in China

In the past we have been told that the media got “a taste of the iron fist of socialism”. But what about the ‘iron fist’ of a free media?!

 

The memories of Phil’s decades-long award-winning career in journalism (when he was allowed to work in a free environment) as he was gripped by the rare disabling condition Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP), have been released in a major book ‘A GOOD STORY’. Order it now!

‘BUY MY BOOK!’

Regrettably publication of another book, however, was refused, because it was to have included names.

‘Big brother part two’ is tomorrow, where Phil explores how China has said its accusers are ‘slanderous’, and why this underlines the proper legal training he has undertaken.