AFP: Media Group Slams China's 'Brutal Vendetta' against Epoch Times
AFP reported on March 2, 2006, that The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has accused China of a "brutal vendetta" against independent media following the ransacking of the offices of one of its leading critics.
The Hong Kong office of The Epoch Times was broken into by four unidentified men on Wednesday. They smashed a glass door at the entrance of the building and wreaked havoc in the offices, including entering the computer room in the print shop and wrecking office machines and computers, IFJ said.
"China's authoritarian leaders are maintaining a systematic policy of intimidation and censorship directed against dissident voices and independent media, both inside and outside of the country," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary.
"This latest vandalism is part of a brutal vendetta that cannot be tolerated." Wu Xueer, a spokesperson for the New York-headquartered newspaper said. Its print shop had recently printed the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party, a series of editorials criticising China's Communist Party. Wu believed that the Chinese authorities were trying to stop the paper's ability to print the Nine Commentaries in Hong Kong.
IFJ said the newspaper's employees have been the target of a series of threats and harassment in recent weeks. The paper's IT director Yuan Li was attacked last month in his home in Atlanta, Georgia in the United States. He was severely beaten by a gang of Chinese men who stole only his work-related computers.
The Epoch Times in Malaysia has been blocked from publication due to the Chinese regime's interference, while its Sydney and Toronto offices have received suspicious envelopes in the post that are suspected of containing toxic materials, the IFJ said.
White accused the Chinese authorities of "systematically confiscating newspapers, intimidating advertisers, and threatening the families of staff members."
"This is a vicious witch-hunt aimed at crushing the voice of dissent," White added.
Japan's Kyoto News reported on March 1, 2006, that The Hong Kong printing house of The Epoch Times, a daily newspaper known for reporting China's persecution of the outlawed Falun Gong movement and criticizing the Chinese Communist Party, was attacked Tuesday night, its chief editor said Wednesday.
Amy Chu confirmed a police report that four hammer-wielding men, aged between 20 and 30, broke into the printing office in the New Territories and damaged the computer-to-plate machine used for printing, but left within minutes without attacking the staff inside.
"We believe the men were special agents sent by the Communist Party," Chu said. "The Epoch Times has been criticizing the party and promoting the trend of withdrawal of party members for a long time. We are a platform for free speech in China despite the state's tight scrutiny."
"The attack just showed that the party is scared of our telling the truth. We hope the Hong Kong public will be concerned that such violence against media can happen in a city embracing free speech," she said.
Chu said there have been a series of attacks against The Epoch Times. On Feb. 8, its chief technical officer Li Yuan, who is a Falun Gong practitioner, was held at gunpoint and badly beaten in his Atlanta home in the United States, allegedly by special agents of the Chinese Communist Party.
According to Minghui.net, Falun Gong practitioners stated that the incident of smashing printing equipment in Hong Kong and the secret agents for Chinese Communist Party robbing and beating a Falun Gong practitioner with a gun showed that the CCP is resorting to all methods as it collapses. Such tricks will not extend its life but only accelerate its fall.