Dharamshala: Reporters Without Borders (RSF) denounced China’s recent censorship on academic research related to coronavirus, calling the Chinese government to revoke these restrictions so as to empower the international community of essential information to fight the pandemic.
Earlier this month, the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology notified at least two universities that coronavirus research must obtain their approval prior to publishing, a measure that is unusual even for Chinese censorship.
The two Chinese universities including the Fudan University, which is deemed as China’s one of the most prestigious universities had published the new censorship directives on their websites.
According to the posts, “Papers related to virus tracing should be managed strictly”, “Other papers related to the new coronary pneumonia epidemic should be reviewed by the academic committee of the college”, “The publication of papers must be “approved in strict accordance with regulations” among other details of the guideline.
“Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on Beijing to rescind this measure as it could further inhibit the flow of scientific information coming out of China and undermine the international effort against the pandemic,” said Cédric Alviani, the head of RSF’s East Asia bureau in a statement criticizing the move.
“By trying to hide scientific information on the coronavirus from the international community, Beijing shows a monstrous egotism far removed from the image of responsibility and solidarity that it tried to project since the beginning of the crisis.”
The RSF also lambasted the Chinese government for imposing their narrative on the coronavirus by means of blocking the circulation of information in China, denigrating foreign media outlets that criticize Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak, and spreading false information.
China is ranked 177th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2020 World Press Freedom Index.