Investigative journalism silenced by Xi Jinping

Newsstand in Beijing

Newsstand in Beijing

A report of The New York Times shows how investigative journalists have lost influence in Chinese society. "We are on the verge of extinction," they say.

Investigative journalism is repressed in China. The revelation was made in a recent report of The New York Times. Several independent journalists will come forward to reveal how "the space for freedom of expression has become very limited."

Zhang Wenmin, for example, was once one of the most feared journalists in China. She traveled all over the country reporting stories of police authority abuse, illegal convictions or environmental disasters. Today, she struggles to see her work published within his own country. To the New York newspaper, Zhang accuses the police of intimidating her sources, while closing her accounts on social networks that are allowed by the Xi Jinping regime.

At age 45, Zhang admits that her work is now "very dangerous." Independent journalism is completely controlled by the Communist Party. If she once unmasked the scandals of contaminated milk powder or blood sale schemes, today she can do little or nothing for the Chinese society. Nobody listens to her, no one reads her. Because Beijing does not allow it, it does not give a chance, says the journalist.

Since Xi Jinping took office in China, investigative journalists have virtually disappeared as authorities chased and arrested dozens of reporters and news agencies cut down on background reporting. Incidentally, one of the most striking consequences of the revitalization of Xi Jinping policy is that the Chinese press is almost totally devoid of critical reporting, replaced by optimistic portrayals of Chinese daily life under the harmonious and auspicious command of Xi.

The beginning of the "age of total censorship"

Another journalist who decided to take a step forward was Liu Hu. "We are almost extinct," said the Sichuan province reporter in southwestern China, who was arrested for investigating corrupt politicians. "No one is allowed to reveal the truth," he added.

Since the rise to power in 2012, Xi Jinping has radically changed the landscape of Chinese media, giving full primacy to the official, party-controlled media and silencing independent voices. For Xi Jinping, the mission of the media should be exclusively to spread "positive energy", "serving the party and loving the country".

Xi's repression of journalists has left more than 1.4 billion Chinese people thirsty for information. While China is opening up to the world, internally the society is increasingly closed. "The government is leaving the citizens completely ignorant," Liu said.

In order to get a sense of how everything works. When US President Donald Trump criticizes China, his words rarely appear in the traditional Chinese press. Such current Issues as the trade war with the United States, the #MeToo movement, genetically engineered babies, or the spread of African swine fever are taboo subjects for Chinese society.

Freedom of expression is decadent. Xue Lei, another of the reporters heard, left the Beijing Youth Daily newspaper to practice public relations at a technology company. Xue got tired of the censorship and pressure exerted on him in his investigative journalism. "Issues that used to be naturally monitored by journalists were suddenly restricted," he said, pointing as examples to stories related to corruption.