The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) again labeled China’s communist regime as the world’s largest jailer of journalists for the third consecutive year. The organization called 2021 “a particularly bleak year for press freedom advocates.”
As the controversial Winter Olympic Games in Beijing loom and international criticism for the absence of human rights grows daily, now comes the addition of CPJ’s report that once again announces the Chinese regime as the world’s leading persecutor of journalists.
CPJ expressed its concern over the increase in the number of journalists imprisoned worldwide last year, although it singled out China as the country with the highest number of such prisoners.
Nor did it overlook the increasing persecution of journalists in formerly free Hong Kong, the disappearance of Chinese journalists attempting to document the government’s mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic at home, and the ongoing genocide of the Uighur people in East Turkestan, among the aggravating factors in the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) attacks on press freedom.
Notably, the report identifies two pointed cases of public knowledge, the imprisonment of Jimmy Lai, founder of Hong Kong’s Apple Daily and avowed anti-Communist; and Zhang Zhan, a citizen journalist who disappeared into Communist Party custody in 2020 after filming the disastrous handling of the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan, where the virus originated, in early 2020.
The prosecution in Hong Kong escalated sharply in 2020 after China’s “national security law” was passed, giving the giant state apparatus access to absolute control over people in the semi-autonomous city of Hong Kong.
The “national security law” demands a minimum sentence of ten years in prison for anyone found guilty of “terrorism,” “inciting secession,” “inciting foreign interference,” or “subversion of state power.” All these causes are highly ambiguous and easily applied to any dissident of the regime.
This whole situation becomes more serious when considering that China will once again host the Winter Olympic Games in a few months. Therefore thousands of journalists and officials from all over the world are expected to visit the country.
According to Reuters, concerns about the lack of legal guarantees in China are so great that Australia, the United Kingdom, and Canada joined the recent boycott against the Beijing 2022 Olympic Games announced by the United States.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki initially announced the boycott on Monday, December 6, saying, “the Biden administration will not send any diplomatic or official representation to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympic games given [China’s] ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses.”
Two days later, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson joined in, announcing that “there will effectively be a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics, with no ministers or officials expected to attend.”
While, as reported by Al Jazeera, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the same day that the move comes after exhausting diplomatic channels with China to discuss their differences and human rights abuses in the western region of Xinjiang.
For his part Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, told reporters Wednesday, “Many partners around the world are extremely concerned about repeated human rights violations by the Chinese government. That is why we are announcing today that we will not be sending any diplomatic representation to the Beijing Olympics.”
Although a diplomatic boycott of this kind does not imply a real break with China, far from it, it can be a severe blow against the image of the communist regime, which is gradually becoming exposed for its cruelty and perversity.