News museum tells tale of worsening repression of journalists and religious leaders under Xi Jinping

News museum tells tale of worsening repression of journalists and religious leaders under Xi Jinping

The Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue in the US, is welcoming President Xi Jinping with a stark message about his suppression of core freedoms, including the jailing of 44 journalists and the increasing subjugation of religious leaders, Tibetan monks and the Falung Gong. 

The Newseum says its mission is to champion the five freedoms of the First Amendment through exhibits, public programs and education. 

In a commentary in the Wall Street Journal, a leading right-leaning publication, the president and chief executive of the Newseum, Jeffrey Herbst, says the facade of the building will display traditional “large character” Chinese language posters demanding freedom in China.

Reminding America and the world that there is no free press in China, the Newseum head reflects on the recent arrest of a journalist Wang Xiaolu, a writer for the business publication Caijing, who, was forced to go through the 21st-century version of the Mao-era “struggle sessions” and confess on television that his reporting has been “sensational,’’ following reports on the stock-market bubble, and the appearance of central government bungling.

Herbst says that under President Xi, censorship has increased. Of the 221 journalists imprisoned world-wide that the Committee to Protect Journalists identified in 2014, 44 were in Chinese prisons. This is a jump of 37.5 percent in one year.

What is happening to journalists parallels what is happening on the internet. Freedom House, in its annual “Freedom on the Net” survey, reports that as of 2014 China had the third-worst internet-freedom record in the world, ahead of only Syria and Iran.
Having invested vast sums and effort to monitor the Web, China also imprisons activists who make online posts that deviate from official statements. President Xi reportedly has stated that “the internet has become the main battlefield in the struggle for public opinion,” and he clearly intends for the state to win that battle, Herbst says.

He says that the assault on religious leaders and other people of faith has increased under Mr. Xi and may be, at least for Christians, the worst since the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s and ’70s. The sheer scope of religious repression is striking.

Rep. Chris Smith, chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, which Congress created in 2000 to monitor human rights in China, noted some of the commission’s stark findings in July: 1,200 crosses and 35 church buildings demolished; the religious sites of Uighur Muslims shut down and raided, and study of the Quran banned; the detention of 273 Tibetan Buddhist monks; reports of torture and deaths of members of the Falun Gong; and human-rights lawyers who defend people of faith charged with “creating chaos.”

Herbst says China’s worsening climate for freedom also matters because its approach to suppressing dissent serves as a model for leaders elsewhere.

Democracy has not had an intellectual competitor since the Berlin Wall fell. Yet China’s brand of authoritarian capitalism is taking root in many parts of the world, most notably in Vladimir Putin’s Russia as well as Africa and Central and South America. If American leaders do not voice their concerns, China’s New Great Wall may, by word and deed, give authoritarians across the world the cover to repress those who refuse to toe the official line.--The Standard


Police commandos stand guard as chief editor of French satyrical magazine Charlie Hebdo Gerard Biard receives the M100 Media Award in Potsdam near Berlin, northeastern Germany, on September 17, 2015. Biard receives the award on behalf of the entire editorial team. AFP PHOTO / JOHN MACDOUGALL

BERLIN: German police said they had conducted eight raids in Berlin on Tuesday targeting individuals suspected of inciting people to go and fight for ISIS in Syria.

The raids began at 6:30 a.m. (0430 GMT) and targeted, among others, a 51-year-old Moroccan, suspected of recruiting for the militants, police said in a statement.

A 19-year-old Macedonian thought to be currently in Syria is also suspected of involvement in the recruitment drive, it said.

One raid was conducted at an association adjoining a mosque in Berlin's central Tempelhof-Schoeneberg district, the statement said.

German intelligence estimates that some 600 Germans have joined Islamist groups in Syria and Iraq.

News museum tells tale of worsening repression of journalists and religious leaders under Xi Jinping News museum tells tale of worsening repression of journalists and religious leaders under Xi Jinping Reviewed by Ajit Kumar on 2:09 PM Rating: 5

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