We are appalled to learn that the Xinjiang authorities used force and violence to prevent journalists and media workers reporting on matters of public interest in Urumqi . This is violent trampling on press freedom. However, the investigation by Xinjiang authorities blamed the three Hong Kong journalists for inciting unrest in the troubled city of Urumqi on September 4. We are all angered by such outrageous and blatantly false report.
We condemn the investigation in the strongest terms. The journalists were conducting legitimate reporting work that day, and the allegation of inciting public disorder by the relevant Xinjiang authorities is a total fabrication.
1) The Xinjiang government to investigate the September 4 event in a comprehensive, fair and open manner. The government has to publish the report, apologise to the reporters concerned and punish officials found to have committed any wrongdoing.
2) The Xinjiang government must stop all suppressive actions against the media and publicly pledge to respect press freedom.
3) The acts by Urumqi city government reflects the total lack of respect for press freedom on the part of mainland authorities. It is a contravention of the open policy promised by the Central government of China . We therefore urge the Chinese government to take the lead to abolish the rules which require journalists to apply for press accreditation before covering news on Mainland China.
Hong Kong Journalists Association
Foreign Correspondents’ Club Hong Kong
13th September 2009