The Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, has urged Chinese authorities to fully investigate the beating and subsequent death of Chinese journalist Sun Hongjie. He died in a hospital in Kuitun, a city in the northwestern province ofXinjiang, on 28 December 2010, 10 days after being beaten by several men at a construction site.
“I deplore the killing of Sun Hongjie,” said Ms Bokova. “In view of the nature of the attack, I call upon the authorities to carry out a thorough investigation into this crime and bring the perpetrators to justice.”
Hongjie worked as a senior reporter for the Beijiang Chenbao newspaper. According to international news reports, the reporter died from head injuries received after being attacked by a group of six people at the construction site on the night of 18 December where he had an appointment to meet a source.
UNESCO is the United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom. Article 1 of its Constitution requires the Organization to “further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations.” To realize this the Organization is requested to “collaborate in the work of advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples, through all means of mass communication and to that end recommend such international agreements as may be necessary to promote the free flow of ideas by word and image…”