As China journalists struggle to protect their human rights, actions to protect press rights and organized support are increasing. The New York Times reported last week, that a group of retired Communist Party Officials wrote a letter about how the current censorship of media in China violates the Chinese constitution while demanding total press freedom. Is there hope for such reform in China’s strictly censored communist state? Perhaps it is true what they say, “Timing is everything”.
Also in the letter was reference to Xie Chaoping, a writer who was jailed in august after the publishing of his book, “The Great Migration”. Chaoping who wrote accusations of government embezzlement is just an example of many cases. Freedom of speech is still but a dream to writers in the Chinese community.
Chinese journalists are taking these times as opportunities and running with assertiveness. The Committee to Protect Journalists reported in 2009 that China had 23 journalists in jail, topping any other country. However, on October 19th 2010 chinese journalists used mainstream technology with text messages, blogs, and protests to collectively raise voices to demand freedom for human and press rights. Progress begins to show through the releaseing of jailed journalists to apologies by corporate officials.
Furthermore, and in timely fashion, Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize just three days before the letter was written. An intellectual, human rights activist, and President of the Independent Chinese PEN Center since 2003, Xiaobo is currently serving an 11-year sentence for subversion charges. As the first Chinese citizen to recieve the Noble Peace Prize, he instills hope amongst the Chinese and other countries of a non-free state.
Will we see media reform in China? If so, is a democratic reform the best approach?