CRF Blog

In Xinjiang, China, journalists work in the shadow of censorship

by Bill Hayes

In In Xinjiang, China, journalists work in the shadow of censorship for the Los Angeles Times, Julie Makinen reports first hand on censorship in China.

[E]ven as Chinese officials insist that this is a clear-cut battle against religious zealots and hard-core separatists, local authorities are making it difficult for anyone to independently question (or substantiate) that narrative. Outsiders inquiring about the scale or causes of the carnage in Xinjiang are unwelcome, and locals are discouraged from speaking freely about it.

That became abundantly clear on a recent Thursday when I and my assistant, our driver and guide suddenly found ourselves accompanied by two extremely persistent Xinjiang security officers who trailed us for hours and whose intimidating presence ensured that no one would talk openly to us.

China’s state-run media must follow the Communist Party line, but foreign journalists are supposed to be able to travel freely anywhere in the country except Tibet and interview anyone who consents.

In reality, though, authorities employ various tactics to stifle coverage. [more]