Did China ban journalists from speaking freely? | Updated: 2020-06-10 09:45
A recovering pneumonia patient gives a thumbs-up to medical workers at Wuhan University's Zhongnan Hospital. [GAO XIANG/FOR CHINA DAILY]

Rumor: During COVID-19, the Chinese government cracked down on journalists and medical workers as they exercised their right to freedom of speech on the internet, resulting in lack of information transparency.


- All countries have strict regulations on the confirmation and information release of infectious diseases. This is an international common practice. In China, the Law of the People's Republic of China on the Prevention and Treatment of Infectious Diseases stipulates rigorous reviewing procedures and requirements concerning the reporting, verification and information release of infectious diseases.

- Open and transparent information is key to tackling epidemics. China's National Health Commission collects and releases, on a daily basis, data of confirmed cases of all provinces to ensure that the data is accurate and reliable. Any cover-up or under-reporting is strictly held accountable. At the same time, the Chinese government exercises law-based management over the internet, including social media. Heated debates among different views are easily found online in China. The Chinese government welcomes oversight by the public and media, while at the same time opposes illegal acts of starting and spreading rumor, creating panic or disrupting public order.

- In China, no one gets punished or penalized simply because of making remarks. China's criminal law clearly stipulates what actions constitute crimes. Violating the criminal law is a prerequisite of conviction. A handful of people, out of their hidden agenda, purport to have been convicted for speaking out in China. Their claim has no factual basis.

- The Chinese government has all along conducted its COVID-19 response in an open and transparent manner, and has made widely recognized achievements. China is a country under the rule of law. Whether during the fight against the virus or in other times, China's public security authorities handle cases and illegal activities in strict accordance with law.

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