The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) jailed a former Chinese state media journalist who turned into an anti-corruption journalist because he “attacked and vilified the Communist Party and government.”
“Chen Jieren was convicted on Thursday of ‘picking quarrels and provoking trouble, extortion, illegal business operations and bribery’, a court in central Hunan province said in an online statement,” The South China Morning Post reported. “The charge of ‘picking quarrels and provoking trouble’ is a catch-all that Chinese authorities often use against people who criticise the regime.”
Chen was jailed two years after he published two articles on his personal website that accused CCP officials of being corrupt.
“China is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), and tightly controls the press at home while censoring most foreign media outlets via the Great Firewall, its vast online censorship and surveillance apparatus,” CNN reported. “In March, China expelled journalists from the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal, in an unprecedented move against the foreign press.”
U.S.-based Chinese news site Radio Free Asia reported that Chen was forced to state: “I abused my own influence and the trust of my social media followers. I used wording that evoked fairness and justice to cheat my readers; to deceive the people. I am a classic example of a fake guy on the internet.”
RFA reported that neither Chen nor members of his family, who were also taken away by the CCP, have been allowed access to a lawyer.
The news comes as China deals with global fallout over the coronavirus pandemic that originated in Wuhan, China, and that spread in part because China tried to cover-up the outbreak and repeatedly lied in subsequent statements about how dangerous the virus was.
The Daily Wire highlighted just a few examples of China’s mishandling of the coronavirus at the start of the outbreak:
China has falsely claimed that the coronavirus came from the United States Army; tried to cover it up by silencing doctors and journalists who were trying to warn the world; told the world that there was not evidence the coronavirus could be transmitted person to person when they knew for a fact that it could; intentionally lied about how bad the outbreak was and tried to cover up deaths; and is allegedly continuing to withhold critical information about the outbreak.
U.S. officials have been crafting retaliatory measures for the Trump administration to take against China ranging from demanding financial compensation to imposing massive tariffs to canceling debt that the U.S. owes China.
One top official cautioned to The Washington Post that right now was not the right time to punish China for what it did, but added that “there will be a time to do it.”