Chinese citizen journalists persevere, risk jail

tn_zhong-guojpg.JPG Peddling news along with vegetables

A Reuters article from China suggests that bloggers and citizen journalists continue to use the Internet to share stories, pictures and complaints about oppressive conditions. The article includes this quote from Vincent Brossard, Asia desk chief of Reporters Without Borders:

“People are going through the Internet because they cannot get what they want through conventional media.” . . . Brossard estimates there are hundreds, “if not thousands,” of citizen reporters in China, despite its status as the world’s leading jailer of journalists, and where at least 50 “cyber-dissidents” remain behind bars.”

The article focuses on Zhou Muguang, a 26-year-old vegetable peddler who blogs as Zola. He started collecting money from residents of Chongqing, to blog about how “cash-strapped local governments often collude with developers and hired thugs to seize land from powerless residents,” as Reuters summarized it. Here is a quote from Zhou:

“Originally I went to Chongqing with selling vegetables in mind. I thought that if I could get famous, then business would be better.”

In the United States we have been reading about the censorship in China and the complicity of U.S. companies. This article is a hopeful look at how the Chinese people are trying to use media to bring pressure to bear on corrupt authorities. Thanks to Deep Cuz for bringing this to my attention. (A link to the Reuter’s piece if you have not already scanned it.)