On February 28, 2019, a complaint will be filed by Safeguard Defenders to the UK’s TV regulator Ofcom, concerning systematic violations of the UK’s rule concerning due impartiality and due accuracy in TV broadcasts (standards section five), calling on Ofcom to investigate the broadcast of known and provable lies and intentional distortions in newscasts. The full complaint uses eight different broadcasts by CCTV/CGTN to show the systematic nature of these violations.
This larger complaint follows four individual complaints made, under Ofcom’s Privacy and Fairness complaint mechanisms, namely Peter Humphrey (November 23, 2018), Angela Gui, on behalf of her missing father Gui Minhai (December 30, 2018), Peter Dahlin (January 7, 2019) and Lam Wing-kee (January 14, 2019).
At the time of writing, Ofcom has not issued any decision on whether to launch full and formal investigations based on any of these complaints.
A larger complaint has been prepared for the United States Federal Communications Commission regarding CCTV and CGTN in the U.S. FCC, operating with a narrower mandate than Ofcom, has mandate to act only when evidence of broadcast of lies and intentional distortion can be provided. This complaint, 23 pages in length, will do just that. To be filed April, 2019.
On February 21, 2019, the award-winning Al Jazeera show 101 East premiered their newest documentary, made by Lianain Films – who before made the much watched documentary on the missing five Hong Kong Causeway bay booksellers. The film, China’s TV Confessions, documents not only the use of this practice, but is focused on the disparate group of people fighting back against how CCTV and CGTN can participate in making and broadcasting these without scrutiny or penalty across the world. With Safeguard Defenders’ Peter Dahlin, Wang Yu, Teng Biao, Bao Longjun, Angela Gui, Lam Wing-kee, and Peter Humphrey.
On February 10, 2019, Chinese state media recorded and broadcast another Forced TV Confession, of Uighyr Abdurehim Heyit. This time it was done by CRI – China Radio International, which like CCTV/CGTN, will soon be folded into the new media behemoth ‘Voice of China’. The broadcast, a foreign policy statement responding to Turkish criticism of the situation in Xinjiang, had all the hallmarks of the typical Forced TV Confessions aired by CCTV in the past.
Following CRI’s broadcast of a confession by Abdurehim Heyit, a Uighyr long thought dead, there is now a growing call from Uighurs around the world asking the Chinese state to broadcast confessions of their loved ones missing in Xinjiang and its system of camps for arbitrary, unlawful, incarceration.
On February 3, 2019, Swedish current affairs TV program Agenda focused, again, on China’s use of Forced TV Confessions, and invited both the Chiense ambassador (in Chinese) and Peter Dahlin (in Swedish) to be interviewed, although not together or simultaneous. Soon after, February 17, 2019 Angela Gui appeared to discuss the new developments regarding Gui Minhai’s disappearance. The Swedish ambassador to China has now been placed under investigation by SÄPO – Sweden’s security police.
The same TV channel – SVT, Sweden’s public TV broadcaster – broadcast an extended seven minutes news segment, with an in-depth interview with Peter Humphrey (in English), on January 28, 2019, part of which can be viewed at the link above.
Safeguard Defenders, through its website for information on Disappearances, RSDLmonitor.com, on February 13, 2019, released a brief paper outlining a new, and as of yet, unreported on, phenomena. The brief paper presents information on how people are disappeared inside the normal judicial process, that is, even after they have been arrested. Many of those victims disappear initially, under RSDL – residential surveillance at a designated location – but as can now be shown, disappear again after their arrest and when placed into detention centers to await trial. The method is as simple as disturbing, as the 25 cases presented in the report shows – in that these victims are signed into the detention facilities under false names. In effect, they disappear, because they seize to exist, as no person with their names exist within the detention centers – leaving family and lawyers unable to locate or access the victims before their trial. Read the brief paper at https://rsdlmonitor.com/hidden-in-detention/ or download it as a PDF. Chinese edition available here.