Press Conference, London, on CCTV and their international operations

On November 23, a press conference will be held in London, the United Kingdom, co-hosted by Peter Humphrey and Peter Dahlin, related to operations by China’s state media broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV), and its international arm China Global Television (CGTN).

To avoid disturbances, the event is closed, and attendance is by RSVP only.  A small number of seats remain for interested parties. Contact Info -at- safeguarddefenders -dot- com for more information.

 

The press conference will focus on CCTV’s operations in the UK, and its multiple breaches of the UK Broadcasting code, especially in the broadcast of the two forced TV confessions by the British citizen and former journalist Peter Humphrey. Broadcast of such a “confession” in the UK by Iranian state media previously led to the broadcaster, Press TV, being stripped of its broadcasting license in the United Kingdom.

Peter Dahlin, director of Safeguard Defenders, the parent organization of RSDLmonitor.com, will likewise present information on the systematic nature of these forced TV confessions, and reveal further information on the active collaboration with police by CCTV and individual journalists. The press conference coincides with the release by Safeguard Defenders of a new book, Trial By Media: China’s new show trials, and the global expansion of Chinese media, focused on Forced TV Confessions, but also the role played by CCTV and state/party media in China’s mounting influencing operations globally.

 

 

 

Book release: Trial By Media

On November 23, 2018, Safeguard Defenders will release its next book, Trial By MediaChina’s new show trials, and the global expansion of Chinese media, edited by Peter Dahlin. The release of this book follows the release of an earlier book, the acclaimed The People’s Republic of the Disappeared, edited by Michael Caster, which exposed the realities behind China’s use of secret prisons through RSDL, and the organization’s groundbreaking research report, Scripted and Staged, into China’s use of forced televised confessions.

 

If Scripted and Staged provided a peek into the reality behind the use of forced TV confessions, Trial By Media goes further, and with brand new testimonies from victims, some speaking out at considerable risk, the active role of Chinese state media is exposed, and their extensive collaboration with police not merely in broadcasting, but in extracting, recording and producing these confessions. CCTV and other state media’s complicity in gross human rights violations – the denial of the right to a fair trial, is explored.

 

A press conference will be held in London on November 23, to reveal additional steps being taken against CCTV for its continued broadcasting internationally of “forced TV confessions”. Attendance is by invite and RSVP only. Want to know more? Email info -at- safeguarddefenders -dot- com

 

The book begins, and ends, by looking at the true nature of CCTV, and how it’s different from how we normally think of a state TV broadcaster. In these chapters, the book delves deep into the role that CCTV, and other state/party media, plays both in the use of forced TV confessions, but also as part of Xi Jinping’s “going out” policy.

 

 

The book looks at how China is working to expand its influencing operations internationally, and how the rapid expansion of state/party media, of which CCTV is the flagship, is but one of several trends working in tandem. State media’s expansion is put next to how independent Chinese language media, in countries from Australia to the United States and across Europe, is and has been silenced over the past five years, and how both these developments stand side-by-side under the guise of the United Front Work Department. These developments, alongside the 16+1 initiative in Central- and Eastern Europe, the Belt and Road Initiative, and investment into or purchasing of key media, especially in Africa, are all part of the same strategy, one that seeks to sow division in- and between western countries, and to overturn the current global institutional framework, and replace it with one developed and led by China.

 

Book released on Amazon worldwide November 23, with both paperback and Kindle editions available.

 

The emotional center of the book consists of eight testimonials – fully developed short stories -which centers on the use of forced TV confessions, but each which expands into and shows several new trends in China since the rise of Xi Jinping.

 

 

As many of the victims are either core targets of the 709 crackdown, or in other ways related to them, the testimonials also offer insight into the Chinese state’s thinking about the rights defense movement, an insight we can gain by reading about the back and forth exchanges between victims and their captors.

 

The testimony of Zhai Yanmin shows the troubled state of China’s criminal judicial process, where, after several forced TV confessions – the same process starts over, but this time, he is forced to sit down with judge, police, and prosecutor. Once there, together they practice his court appearance, his demeanor, everything – except this time, for his show trial, there could be no retakes.

 

The star in Professor Liu Sixin’s testimony, like in several others, is CCTV’s Dong Qian, shown to play a very active role in both his and others’ forced TV confessions. Lawyer Wang Yu, whose experience with RSDL has been told before in The People’s Republic of the Disappeared, here reveals how her son was used as a pawn against her, how he was made to attack others, and the torture police used against him to make him cooperate, all of it with a clear purpose, forcing Wang Yu to cooperate and “confess” on TV.

 

Activist Liu Xing, like several others, remembers how he would be drugged, and how he spent a year after his systematic forced drugging to recover from it. Wen Qing, like Zhai, speaks on how his very identity came under attack because of the TV confessions, and the long road back. Peter Dahlin writes about experiencing going through a lie detector test, all the while his girlfriend was kept incommunicado, in solitary confinement, whilst State Security prodded him to record a “confession” video. With Peter Humphrey, a British former journalist, we learn how he, and his American wife Yu Yingzeng, ended up being paraded on TV as collateral damage into a major corruption scandal that had nothing to do with them, but an international pharmaceutical conglomerate.

 

The book also offers solutions for what regulatory bodies in target countries can do when it comes to CCTV’s existing or planned presence, and that their presence, and therefore their need to adapt to local rules, can be a silver lining, offering a chance to affect positive change in the behavior of Chinese media, and to their culpability in committing gross human rights violations.

 

Immediately and Unconditionally Release Huang Qi

China: Immediately and Unconditionally Release Huang Qi & Ensure Access to Prompt Medical Care for all Detained Human Rights Defenders

A group of 14 NGO’s call for Huang Qi’s release and access to medical care.

2018-11-05 — Chinese authorities must immediately and unconditionally release citizen journalist and human rights activist Huang Qi, a group of 14 NGOs said on November 5, 2018.

 

Huang Qi (黄琦), the founder and director of 64 Tianwang Human Rights Center, is not receiving adequate medical care in detention and his health has seriously deteriorated, according to his lawyer who visited him on October 23. Huang’s condition is so serious that there is an immediate threat to his life.

 

The Chinese government must immediately and unconditionally release Huang, who has been detained solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression, and end its policy of denying prompt medical treatment to prisoners of conscience, which is a form of torture. Several human rights defenders and ethnic and religious minorities have died in detention in recent years due to a lack of prompt medical treatment, including Liu Xiaobo, Cao Shunli, Yang Tongyan, and Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, intensifying fears that Huang Qi might suffer the same fate without urgent intervention.

 

Huang suffers from a chronic kidney disease which requires daily medication, hydrocephalus (accumulation of fluid in the brain), heart disease and other illnesses. Huang told his lawyer during the October meeting that Sichuan authorities had purposely understated the dire state of his health and had tried to cover up his actual condition. In particular, Huang’s blood pressure was actually much higher than previously revealed, with a reading done on October 18 and 19 in the detention facility measuring 221/147 mm Hg, a reading so high that it qualifies as a “hypertensive crisis” (a normal reading should be no higher than 140/90 mm Hg). Huang has also reported to his lawyers different forms of torture and other ill-treatment to which he has been subjected to in the past two years, including extended interrogations, prolonged periods of being forced to stand, and beatings.

 

Authorities have repeatedly rejected applications for release on medical bail despite Huang’s heath condition continuing to deteriorate. He faces charges of “illegally providing state secrets to foreign entities” and “leaking state secrets” due to his work with 64 Tianwang Human Rights Center, which documents and publishes reports on enforced disappearances, trafficking, human rights violations and complaints against government officials. Huang faces the possibility of life imprisonment. His 85-year-old mother has been campaigning for his release, fearing he may die in prison. Last month two of his associates received suspended prison sentences and were released, but authorities have continued to hold Huang. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued an opinion in April 2018 that declared Huang’s detention arbitrary, but the Chinese government continues to ignore the Working Group’s recommendation that Huang be released and compensated.

 

Lawyers representing Huang Qi have also faced retaliation. One of his lawyers, Sui Muqing, was disbarred in February 2018 for defending human rights defenders, such as Huang. Huang’s current lawyer, Liu Zhengqing, received a notice in October that he is under investigation for giving Huang cigarettes during a meeting in July. Liu faces suspension of his law license or a large fine.

 

Tomorrow, during China’s 3rd Universal Periodic Review, UN Member States should raise the continued pervasive use of torture and other ill-treatment in China, including tactics like denying medical care for human rights defenders, and make clear calls on the Chinese government to end such practices.

 

Background

 

Mianyang City police in Sichuan Province initially detained Huang Qi on November 28, 2016 and arrested him the following month on charges of “illegally providing state secrets to foreign entities.” A trial scheduled for June 20, 2018 was suspended without any official reason provided. In October 2018 police added an additional charge of “leaking state secrets.” He is currently being held at Mianyang City Detention Center.

 

Huang Qi established China’s first-known human rights monitoring website in 1998, disseminating reports about Chinese individuals who had been trafficked and disappeared. Huang has served two prison sentences, totalling eight years, in reprisal for his human rights work, and was often tortured and otherwise to ill-treated. Born in 1963, Huang Qi graduated from Sichuan University and was formerly a businessman. His work in citizen journalism has received international awards, including two from Reporters Without Borders, which awarded 64 Tianwang the Press Freedom Prize in 2016, and honored Huang in 2004 with the Cyber-Freedom Prize.

 

Co-sponsored by: