Jailed Chinese Journalist Wins Press Award – AFP

From AFP, via Mail & Guardian:

The mother of jailed Chinese journalist wept and punched the air on Monday as she accepted a press-freedom award on her son’s behalf from world media bosses in Cape Town.

“He has only done what any courageous journalist should do,” Gao Qinsheng told an annual gathering of the World Association of Newspapers (Wan).

Wiping away tears to receive the Golden Pen of Freedom trophy from World Editors’ Forum (WEF) president George Brock, Gao said the award was a huge comfort to her 38-year-old son. [Full Text]

Read Golden Pen acceptance speech by Gao Qinsheng, mother of laureate Shi Tao:

… I feel deeply honored for my son to be receiving this honor. Shi Tao is a professional journalist but also a direct victim of the shackles of . He received the heavy sentence of 10 years imprisonment in 2004 because he published what the authorities considered should not be made public. He has been in prison for 3 years now.

In China he is taken as a criminal, but today WAN, made up of over 100 newspaper organizations, awards him the Golden Pen of Freedom. It is not only an honor but also a huge comfort to Shi Tao.

It proves that my son is indeed innocent. He has only done what a courageous journalist should do. That is why he has got the support and the sympathy from his colleagues all over the world who uphold justice, the colleagues who have been concerned about Shi Tao who has lost his freedom, been locked up in prison. [Full Text]

See also Golden Pen presentation speech by George Brock, President of the World Editors Forum:

Mr President, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today, the 4th of June, is the 18th anniversary of the violent, murderous suppression of a peaceful demonstration for democracy on Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Even today, most Chinese know nothing about what happened that day. The Communist regime continues to prevent the Chinese media from talking and writing about it openly and honestly and will go to great lengths to silence any such revelations and to severely punish those who make them.

Shi Tao, whom we are honouring here today, has learned this to his own great cost. He revealed what the state did not want known and he pays the price in prison today.

As the world prepares for the Beijing Olympics next year, it is important to remember that China is not just sport, tourism and double-digit economic growth. Here in Africa, where China has been conducting an aggressive charm campaign, it is especially important to present the full, rounded picture. And to demand change. [Full Text]

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