China doubles down on suppressing press freedom...

The regime in Beijing was again highlighted as the biggest detainer of journalists globally, with over 100 currently imprisoned.

As the world celebrated World Press Freedom Day on May 3rd, disturbing new reports underscore how China remains the world’s worst jailer of journalists and writers. The latest World Press Freedom Index from Reporters Without Borders (RSF) ranked China near the very bottom at 172nd out of 180 countries and territories surveyed.

The regime in Beijing was again highlighted as the biggest detainer of journalists globally, with over 100 currently imprisoned.

The RSF report slammed the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) strict censorship policies, stating it “continues to exercise strict control over information channels, implementing censorship and surveillance policies to regulate online content and restrict the spread of information deemed to be sensitive or contrary to the party line.” So much for allowing a free press and open discourse.

This suppression of press freedom appears to be worsening, under Xi Jinping’s  authoritarian  rule. RSF noted that while China’s numeric ranking increased slightly compared to last year, this was solely due to the deteriorating situations in other nations like Afghanistan and not because of any positive reform from Beijing.

Hong Kong’s press freedom ranking also increased marginally, but again, not because of any meaningful improvements. RSF explained Hong Kong’s bump was “misleading” as its freedom score actually dropped due to the persecution of journalists under the draconian ‘National Security Law’  imposed by Beijing in 2020 following pro-democracy protests.

A new report from PEN America found China jailed over 100 writers in 2023, the highest number by any country. Among those imprisoned were 50 online commentators charged with the absurdly vague “crime” of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” for merely sharing opinions on social media.

The scale of this crackdown is breathtaking and abhorrent. As Canadian journalist Sheng Xue lamented, “No one knows how many journalists in China have been persecuted to death, how many have been secretly arrested, sentenced, persecuted, and tortured.” Under the CCP’s total information control, the true extent of this repression is impossible to know.

Chinese human rights lawyer Lai Jianping bluntly assessed that press freedom in China is unequivocally “declining and deteriorating.” He argues the CCP’s intensifying stranglehold on speech and the press stems from its deepening insecurities amid mounting political, economic, and social turmoil.

Fearing its authoritarian grip on power could slip, the party resorts to ever more draconian measures to smother dissent.

This deliberate and systematic obliteration of press freedom represents a profound threat to human rights, open discourse, and democratic values. When the free flow of information and freedom of expression are criminalized, it enables corruption, abuse of power, and human rights atrocities to persist unchecked and unaccountable behind an impenetrable veil of censorship.

Beijing’s assault on journalists and authors is an assault on truth itself. By silencing critics and independent voices, the CCP regime can propagate its own distorted narrative and Orwellian alternate reality without challenge.

Citizens are deprived of unfettered access to facts and a diversity of perspectives – the foundational pillars of an informed populace in a free society.

If accuracy and objectivity pose an existential threat to an authoritarian regime, it speaks volumes about that regime’s utter lack of legitimacy and moral standing. A system that rules through brute force rather than civic consent can never tolerate the free press required to hold power to account.

China’s repression of journalists and writers is a stark reminder that even as it stakes claim to global leadership, the CCP remains a brutal, inhumane dictatorship intolerant of basic liberties. Journalists and authors are not criminals – they are truth-tellers and guardians of free thought that any truly rights-respecting society should revere, not persecute.

The international community has a moral obligation to voice unified condemnation of China’s war on press freedom. Journalists and writers unjustly jailed or disappeared must be immediately freed.

So long as this oppression continues, the so called made-in-China authoritarian capitalist prosperity can never be embraced as a legitimate model of governance over and above liberal democracy.

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