Published On: Mon, Sep 14th, 2020

Australian Journalists Forced to Leave China

Araweelo News Network

Beijing(ANN)-The Australian government helped two Australian journalists living in China leave the country yesterday after a five-day diplomatic standoff.  Amid fears for their safety, Bill Birtles of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation sheltered in Australia’s embassy in Beijing, while Michael Smith of the Australian Financial Review took refuge in the Shanghai consulate.

Both left China only weeks after Chinese authorities detained another Australian journalist, Cheng Lei, a business news anchor for the Chinese state-backed media outlet China Global Television Network. Chinese authorities have given no reasons for her arrest.

But for Chinese journalists and activists, there is no foreign embassy to come to their rescue. Journalists and bloggers in China take enormous risks to investigate and report on stories that the China government deems to be sensitive. In February, citizen journalists Chen Qiushi and Fang Bin were forcibly disappeared in Wuhan for reporting independently on the Covid-19 pandemic. They haven’t been heard from since.

Fewer foreign journalists in the country means less scrutiny of China’s human rights record at a time when serious abuses are increasing. In June, an unprecedented 50 United Nations human rights experts issued a joint statement expressing concerns at the Chinese government’s mass violations in Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and Tibet, the suppression of Covid-19-related information, and the targeting of human rights defenders across the country.  They called on the UN Human Rights Council to “act with a sense of urgency” to monitor China’s human rights practices, including a council Special Session and the creation of an independent international mechanism.

The Australian journalists’ recent experiences make it clear why such scrutiny is necessary. The Human Rights Council’s September session will be Australia’s last during its current three-year term as a council member. It should make it count by working with other governments to call for a special session or urgent debate on China. Foreign Minister Marise Payne should also reconsider the government’s recent decision to abolish the human rights post at the Australian embassy in Beijing. More monitoring of the Chinese government’s human rights record is needed, not less.



About the Author

- #Arraale Mohamoud Jama is a freelance journalist and human rights activist with more than 20 years of experience as a professional journalist and human rights activist, as well as a writer and investigative journalist on a wide range of topics related to social issues, human rights, politics and security, economics, democracy, and good governance. He has written extensively on regional and international events, and has worked Somaliland newspapers, and Human rights organization. In 2008, he created the website #Araweelo #News #Network, and is based in Somaliland and is currently managing it; #Arraale is a specialist in investigating and reporting on human rights, democracy, security, and good governance issues. Contact: Send an SMS or MMS to + 252 63 442 5380 + 252 63 442 5380 /

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Araweelo is an Associated Network News, The most trusted source for news & Political,investigator report,Human Rights Issues,Educations,Social and Democracy ,Latest News Horn of Africa. runs Arraale Mohamoud Jama Freelance Journalist and Human Rights Activist based in Somaliland.

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