The next generation of China’s leaders will be named during the 18th congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) that opened Thursday in Beijing. They include the party’s general secretary, who will also be China’s president, the prime minister and the chairman of the National People’s Congress.
Disturbed by the increased control of news and information in the past month, in which considerable resources have been used to gag the media and dissidents, Reporters Without Borders is urging the authorities to loosen online surveillance and controls so that Chinese citizens can exercise their rights to free speech and freedom of information.
“It is very worrying that the five years since the last congress have seen no let-up in the government’s harsh treatment of dissent or its desire for absolute control over news and information,” Reporters Without Borders said.
“Even if we do not yet know the names of the new members of the Politburo Standing Committee, we already know there is no intention of ending the policy of censoring news and cracking down on those who try to use their freedom of expression.
“The arrests and imposition of jail sentences are continuing, while the censorship ‘soldiers’ are tireless in their surveillance of those who express political views and try to promote a democratic debate on the Internet.
“We urge the future president and party general secretary to put an end to the arrests of journalists, bloggers and dissidents and the constant violations of freedom of information. Maintaining order and stability cannot be used to justify cracking down on those who defend human rights and freedom of expression.”
Reporters Without Borders has compiled a partial summary of the many violations of freedom of information during the last weeks preceding the opening of the congress, as they show that the government plans to pursue its authoritarian policies.