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CPJ Special Report: Protests Censored

(May 18, 2006)New York, May 15, 2006 - Fearing that news of land disputes and other civil discontent could fuel a united threat to its authority, China's Communist Party government has undertaken one of the biggest media crackdowns since the aftermath of the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy demonstrations, the Committee to Protect Journalists has found in a new report.

A policy of enforced silence has come to define the central government's approach to widespread rural unrest, China's most salient issue. Authorities are tightening their control of traditional media coverage of so-called "mass incidents" through increasing restrictions and careful instruction by local propaganda departments. However, new technology in the hands of ordinary citizens makes suppressing news of the protests more difficult, according to the report "China's Hidden Unrest" in the coming edition of CPJ's magazine, Dangerous Assignments.

CPJ's Kristin Jones spent two weeks in China investigating the growing crackdown on the reporting of rural unrest speaking to editors, reporters and activists. She also profiles documentary filmmaker Ai Xiaoming, who captured a petition drive to hold a recall election in the southern town of Taishi in September 2005 that was censored and shut down by authorities through a litany of arrests, beatings, threats and intimidation.

To read the report:http://www.cpj.org/Briefings/2006/DA_spring_06/china/china_06.html

CPJ is a New York-based, independent, nonprofit organization that works tosafeguard press freedom worldwide. For more information, visithttp://www.cpj.org (boxun.com)

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