21 September 2011

Journalist reporting on "gutter oil" stabbed to death

Two unemployed Chinese residents have been arrested today, 21 September, in the fatal stabbing of 30-year-old TV journalist Li Xiang. While police in the central city of Luoyang, Henan province, are calling the murder a robbery, IFEX members are urging Chinese authorities to investigate possible links between the killing and the journalist's investigative reporting.

Xiang's last blog report exposed a company that was allegedly bottling toxic waste oil from restaurants, called "gutter oil," and selling it as cooking oil, report the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF). He was stabbed 13 times, say police, as he returned to his residence at dawn. His laptop, camera and wallet were stolen, according to the New York Times.

Additionally, IFJ reports that two other journalists were assaulted last week by security personnel at Jinko Solar Holding Company as they reported on the detrimental health effects caused by the manufacturing company in eastern China.

Despite several cases of journalists getting assaulted on the job, the Chinese government often refuses to publish information about these cases or allow public access to the trials of the assailants in such cases, says IFJ.

RSF adds that journalists are often jailed for muckraking work related to health and safety issues issues. Zhao Lianhai, who has since been freed, was imprisoned in 2008 after creating a website exposing tainted baby formula of a leading Chinese company.

In August, CPJ also reported that authorities censored environmental protests in Liaoning province, when thousands of demonstrators called for the closure of a chemical plant that could have been damaged by a storm. In July, authorities also censored news of the high-speed rail crash in Zhejiang province, which killed at least 35 people.

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TV journalist killed; IFJ worried by recent spate of attacks 20 September 2011
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