[Linkages Home]
[Women Conf. Home]
[General News]
[Send Feedback]


A Brief Guide for Delegates to the 1995 NGO Forum on Women

Jump to:


Human Rights Watch has prepared this brochure to help facilitate the work of NGO participants attending the 1995 NGO Forum on Women and the U.N. Fourth World Conference on Women, scheduled for Huairou and Beijing, the People's Republic of China (PRC) in August and September 1995. That work includes: development of a Platform for Action encompassing peace, equality, and development for women; sharing of expertise by representatives from every country on issues affecting women worldwide; and creation of mechanisms to ensure women's rights and status beyond this historic gathering.

Any United Nations conference the size and scope of the one planned for China poses enormous logistical challenges, including the provision of adequate meeting rooms, communications facilities, transportation, and housing. Human Rights Watch is concerned that such challenges are compounded by Chinese government controls on freedom of expression, association, assembly, and religion, all of which could seriously impede delegates' full participation in the conference.

It is our belief that knowledge of Chinese laws and regulations most relevant to delegates' activities, of simple precautionary measures applicable to personal safety, of avenues available for redress should problems arise, and of systems for sending the message of the NGO Forum and the Fourth World Conference beyond conference sites, will contribute to the success of our collective endeavor.


The key Chinese organizations involved in the U.N. Fourth World Conference on Women and the parallel 1995 NGO Forum on Women are the Chinese Organizing Committee (COC), the All-China Women's Federation (ACWF), commonly referred to as fu lian, and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The COC, responsible for planning and supervising arrangements for both meetings, is primarily composed of government officials, and it reports to top government and CCP leaders.

The ACWF is a mass organization under the direct supervision of the CCP's Central Committee. A senior official of the ACWF serves as vice-chair of the COC, and the president of the ACWF heads the official Chinese delegation to the Fourth World Conference.

There are no NGOs in China independent of government control. Few, if any, Chinese women would dare to apply on their own to participate in the NGO Forum, and restrictions on the formation and registration of nongovernmental organizations ensures that no group with an agenda independent of the government can operate legally. This does not mean that every one of the 5,000 members of the Chinese NGO delegation is controlled by the Party, but it does mean that all 5,000 have been selected by the ACWF and vetted by the COC. The 36,000 applicants from other countries required approval only by the New York-based NGO Forum secretariat.

The ACWF has the final say on what workshop topics and cultural activities are appropriate for Chinese women to offer at the Forum. Newspaper articles in the Chinese press and speeches by Chinese officials have stressed what China has done to rectify the abuses and indignities Chinese women endured before 1949_and in many areas progress has been dramatic_and how it plans to continue to improve the position of women in the economic, social, and political spheres. The line is set at the highest Party level and relayed to delegates through the ACWF. Chinese women at the NGO Forum will be united in their public support for their government's platform.

How Does the ACWF Operate?

The ACWF is the single mass organization for women, just as the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) is the single organization for labor and the Communist Youth League is the single organization for youth. Each such organization acts as a channel through which the Party transmits policy to the "masses" of non-Party members, mobilizes them in support of Party plans, and receives feedback about the obstacles to implementation. Control of ACWF membership and activities is managed through a network of hierarchical branches organized at the national, provincial and municipal, county, village, and neighborhood levels.

The purposes and organizational structure of the ACWF have changed little since its founding on April 3, 1949, six months before the People's Republic of China itself came into being. According to a 1992 official publication, "A Brief Introduction of the All China Women's Federation," the ACWF exists to "unite and emancipate" the women of China, through an organization with "wide, public and popular representation." In reality, the ACWF since its inception has had as its prime mandate the mobilization of women on behalf of national goals. At present, those goals include economic reform, socialist modernization, opening up to the West as well as resisting "bourgeois-liberalization." Local women's federations exist within many Chinese Communist Party committees, government departments, public organizations such as hospitals and schools, and factories and trade unions. The National Congress of Chinese Women, the ruling body of the ACWF, meets once in five years, ostensibly to set policy for the organization. In reality, it merely acts to publicly affirm policies and the means of implementation already decided.

The structure of the ACWF mirrors all party structures, in that power is concentrated in a select group. The National Congress perpetuates that structure. It elects an executive committee which in turn elects the Standing Committee and determines the membership of the National Congress. The first secretary, currently Huang Qizao (vice-chair of the COC), and the Secretariat of the Standing Committee, which the committee itself chooses, handle the day to day affairs of the federation. As long as they do not challenge the policies and priorities of central and local Party cadres, local ACWF representatives are free to respond to local concerns. And it is at the local level that much redressing of gender-based inequities occurs.

Restrictions on Organizations

The few other extant women's organizations, such as the Young Women's Christian Association, the Association of Women Scientific and Technological Workers, and the ACFTU's Council of Women Workers, all smaller by far than the ACWF, are neither independent nor autonomous; they are closely affiliated with the ACWF. Newly formed women's groups wishing to send representatives to the NGO Forum would have to abide by the 1989 "Regulations on the Registration and Management of Social Groups." To organize or undertake activities without registering is, by definition, illegal.

And to register, a group would first have to be approved by the "relevant professional leading organs," in this case the ACWF. A further impediment to independent organizing is the "monopoly" stipulation in the regulations. An "identical or similar social group cannot be set up within the same administrative area." Informal women's groups are subject to surveillance; Chinese authorities often limit attendance at their meetings, dictate who may or may not participate, and decide what subject matter is taboo.


The Chinese government censors all forms of expression, including speech, media reports, and printed matter. Curbs on the latter extend to publication, distribution, dissemination and possession. The aim is to ensure that no materials considered inimical to state interests or "counterrevolutionary" are available to the general public.

The crime of "counterrevolutionary propaganda and incitement" has been used to limit the distribution of leaflets and posters, to prevent word-of-mouth communication about newsworthy events, to discourage public speeches, and to limit criticism of government and Party leaders. Chinese nationals can receive long prison sentences for spreading counterrevolutionary propaganda. Although Chinese law permits punishment of foreign nationals for the same offense, it is a rare occurrence.

Actions that have been considered "counterrevolutionary" in the past two years, and have led to long-term imprisonment, have included the following: communications with foreign journalists, analyzing policy decisions, unauthorized use of a fax machine, distribution of printed T-shirts, documenting human rights abuses, supporting minority cultures, religious proselytizing, and petitioning for a tax cut. For example, the journalist Gao Yu is serving a six-year term on charges of "leaking state secrets" for writing articles for Hong Kong publications about policy decisions taken by senior Communist Party officials. The information she analyzed had already been reported in pro-Beijing newspapers published in Hong Kong. Zhou Guoqiang, a lawyer, was sent to a labor camp in 1994 for distributing shirts featuring six men sitting around a table. The characters above the table read "collective bargaining"; those on the table read "worker rights."

For foreigners coming to China, the Chinese government uses other means to stem the flow of information. At one international scientific conference in China in the summer of 1992, participants circulated a petition for signatures urging the release of a Chinese scientist imprisoned for peaceful activities in connection with the 1989 student movement. When the Chinese conference organizers became aware of the effort, they let it be known that if the petition were delivered to Premier Li Peng, it could put the organizers themselves in jeopardy. That same summer, at another international scientific meeting in Beijing, a summary of a letter urging participants to raise cases of imprisoned scientists disappeared from the conference bulletin board.

The COC has already attempted, unsuccessfully, to influence information flows at the upcoming NGO Forum. The organizers' plan is for three daily bulletins to be available to delegates, one prepared by Chinese participants, one by the NGO Forum office, and one by an independent news agency. In New York in March and April, at the Final Preparatory Conference before Beijing, the NGO Forum Bulletin, prepared by the forum office, was a major means of circulating news about what was happening in caucuses, at strategy meetings, and at country briefings. It carried diverse opinions and complaints, and it did not shy away from airing contentious information. China had proposed that they be permitted to appoint one of the NGO Forum Bulletin editors. The request was denied. If the Chinese organizers had secured a role in shaping editorial policy, the effectiveness of the publication might have been sharply reduced.

It is important to remember that foreign visitors are subject to Chinese laws and regulations and their frequently arbitrary application. In April and May 1995, the Chinese police strip-searched two French women, one just before she was leaving the country after eight months of Tibetan language study. Police confined the two, who were carrying letters from Tibetans, to their respective hotels for several days, confiscated the letters, interrogated the women about their contacts in Tibet, made them sign confessions saying they had broken Chinese law, and ordered them out of the country.

Forum participants and workshop organizers need to think responsibly about the kinds of activities and materials that could cause problems either for themselves or for their Chinese colleagues. They need to consider carefully the kinds of materials they plan to bring to China and the consequences of printing and distributing leaflets or of circulating petitions.

Printed Materials

According to the China Organizing Committee, materials that address women's concerns may be brought into China but, if illegal under Chinese law, will not be permitted outside conference sites.

No "anti-Chinese" material will be allowed into the country.

It is not clear who decides what is appropriate, relevant, legal, or anti-Chinese; whether there is an appeals process, or what will happen to those who violate the directive. Nor is it clear how the "off-site" rule will apply to materials stored in hotel rooms or carried between the several conference sites.

A customs agent at the point of entry may well decide what can and cannot be brought into China. There is no way of knowing what will happen to material that is clearly related to women's interests but does not reflect the official Chinese stance on a particular issue. For example, material pertaining to reproductive health or individual choice clearly is relevant to the agenda of the conference, but may be viewed as unacceptable because it contradicts official Chinese policy on reproductive choice.

Chinese law, which prevails off-site, may pose problems for conference participants. The 1993 State Security Law and the June 1994 Detailed Rules for the Implementation of the Security Law of the People's Republic of China state that activities subject to investigation for endangering state security include "fabricating or distorting facts, publishing or disseminating written or verbal speeches, or producing or propagating audio and video products..." State security personnel are responsible for interpretation of the regulations and may interpret them so as to allow searches of delegates' hotel rooms or confiscation of materials. The same State Security Law criminalizes contacts with foreign nongovernmental groups deemed hostile to China.

The Chinese government stance is unequivocal with respect to religious materials. None, taped or printed, other than what is to be used personally, may be imported. In other words, you may bring in one prayer book but not two, and that one must leave with you. China's constitution does guarantee freedom of religious belief but equivocates when it comes to religious practice. Government and Party, concerned that unfettered religious organizations, activities, and materials could be used to undermine the socialist state, have set up five "patriotic associations," one for each officially recognized religion, Buddhism, Daoism, Islam, Catholicism, and Protestantism. These associations are charged with monitoring printed and taped religious materials and regulating their distribution. The 1994 Regulation No.144, On the Management of the Religious Activities of Foreigners within China's Borders, explicitly states that foreigners cannot bring in any religious materials whose contents endanger Chinese society's public interests. The regulation is subject to interpretation by the State Council.

Religious congregations that exist outside the aegis of state control are illegal. Worship at an official religious venue is permitted under Regulation No.144. Know that if you decide to worship at an "illegal" site, it could lead to your detention, interrogation, and deportation. Furthermore, it could alert Chinese authorities to the existence of an illegal church and severely endanger its congregants. Even at an official church, you cannot make a speech without permission from official government religious bodies organized minimally at the provincial or municipal level.


Public demonstrations and rallies in China are under strict government supervision. Those that are not specifically authorized are illegal, and restrictions on legal demonstrations are onerous enough to discourage most would-be organizers. Public Security Bureau (PSB) officers, the official name for the police, can forcibly break up any illegal assembly and detain those who refuse to disperse.

The more sensitive the locale (such as Tiananmen Square) or the more publicity the incident is likely to generate, the greater the possibility of police intervention.

During the last three years, police have broken up peaceful demonstrations staged to draw attention to a range of problems, among them: anti-corruption, the need for legal reform, and enforced relocation of residents. Other protests and symbolic acts that police have intervened to stop include peaceful Tibetan independence demonstrations and commemoration of those who died during the 1989 government crackdown in Beijing.

The risks to Chinese citizens are clear. Even a gathering of elderly Chinese outside the Japanese Embassy who were attempting to deliver a letter demanding compensation for war-related damages, resulted in the arrests of more than one hundred in March 1994. Foreigners who demonstrate or protest also are at risk. They can be temporarily detained, interrogated under threatening conditions, and deported. In January 1992, after announcing they planned to lay a wreath in Tiananmen Square, Canadian legislators were manhandled and hustled to the airport without being permitted to collect their belongings.

Law of Assembly, Procession & Demonstration

For Chinese citizens or foreigners wishing to demonstrate legally, the applicable regulations are contained in the 1989 Law of Assembly, Procession, and Demonstration (Demonstration Law) and the 1992 implementing regulations.

Many of the provisions are deliberately ambiguous, vague, and subject to ad hoc interpretation. Article 4, for example, insists that gatherings, rallies, and demonstrations not violate constitutional principles or infringe upon national or societal interests or other citizens' legitimate rights and freedoms. Article 12 forbids a demonstration that will "undermine public order." In addition, the law deliberately leaves enforcement and severity of punishment to the discretion of the police and the courts, and it makes no attempt to define an assembly, procession or demonstration. A symbolic act at People's University in June 1994, burning paper money to commemorate the dead, led to the interrogation of all evening students until the culprits were identified.

The above cases illustrate only some of the problems. The Demonstration Law requires written application to the appropriate Public Security Bureau, that is the police, five days in advance of the event. The information provided must include where and when the applicants plan to demonstrate; what route they intend to follow; and what slogans will be displayed or voiced. The PSB returns a written decision to the responsible individual stipulating either a "clear description of what has been approved [or] providing reasons for denying permission." At its discretion, the police can change the requested time, place or route; sometimes they clear onlookers from an approved route before the onset of the demonstration. The law already forbids use of the sites offering the most visibility and exposure, including Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City in Beijing, and prohibits the presence of foreigners in Chinese demonstrations unless the PSB specifically approves. An appeals process is available to rejected applicants, but generally does little except delay ultimate denial.

NGO Forum delegates who wish to express their concerns about women's issues in an imaginative way, are unlikely to receive permission to demonstrate. The Chinese government does not consider itself under any obligation to provide a site outside forum or conference grounds for rallies or marches. And moving the NGO Forum out of Beijing adds to the problem of NGO participants obtaining permission to rally within the city limits. The Demonstration Law specifies that Chinese citizens may only demonstrate where they are resident. With the forum's official site in Huairou, some sixty kilometers outside Beijing, permission to rally in Beijing could be denied to delegates on the grounds that they are "resident" in Huairou.

If Police Intervene

The Demonstration Law provides for a police presence at authorized rallies and demonstrations. Plainclothes officers also patrol, and videotaping of participants and onlookers for later identification is not uncommon. When an incident occurs of which public security officials disapprove, they usually try to ensure that it stays as local and generates as little publicity as possible. If only a few people are involved, they may suddenly find themselves surrounded by plainclothes officers and shielded from public view. If you are one of the participants, an officer may order you to leave, to wait, or to accompany him. Whether you follow directions is up to you, and depends upon how far you are willing to push for the right to demonstrate. But do not shout, struggle or offer physical resistance if police or security officers attempt to remove you from the scene. If you are taken away, try to ensure that a friend accompanies you to wherever you are taken, and that your consular authorities are immediately notified.

If foreign journalists observe the incident, the situation becomes more complex. The Public Security Bureau would want to make certain that its attempts to deal with the incident and to disperse participants did not get recorded and news stories filed outside China. Reporters could get manhandled in the process, and the PSB might confiscate film and tape.


Surveillance is a fact of life in China. Among other things, it is used to prevent or inhibit unauthorized contacts between Chinese citizens and foreigners.

Plainclothes police officers with cellular phones openly and covertly tail foreigners. They routinely patrol hotel lobbies, bars, and restaurants where foreigners and Chinese gather. Videotaping of participants and onlookers at rallies is routine, and it is reasonable to assume that there will be covert and overt videotaping of some active NGO participants in order to keep track of their movements and contacts. At the end of June, some NGO delegates planning to stay with friends in Beijing, rather than in hotels, were still being told they "may have a problem" and should contact the COC.

In international fora, China keeps routine track of its delegates' activities, made easier by segregated housing and by a designated "handler." The handler is responsible for monitoring what gets said at meetings and conferences. She makes sure everybody keeps to the script; and she leads a review of how a meeting went, who was out of line, and what could be done better next time. At the same time, the "handler" keeps track of, and may even record, the contributions of non-Chinese participants so as to identify those who might be "hostile" to China.

Public security officers

Three groups of officers are responsible for security: the Public Security Bureau (PSB) or police, which includes a special anti-riot detail; the People's Armed Police (PAP); and the People's Liberation Army (PLA). Unless there is a major upheaval, PLA personnel, usually stationed outside the city, will not be a presence in Beijing.

Should you come in direct contact with a member of any of the three security services, he is most likely to be a plainclothes Public Security Bureau officer. Uniformed officers usually arrive only if there is a need for backup. There is no way you can readily identify a plainclothes officer. He will not show you any identification, nor will a uniformed officer identify him for you. If an officer requests that you move on and you do not, he may use force to compel you. Should he request you go with him, and you decide to comply, be sure that someone accompanies you. That person should first observe what is happening, and then go for help.

The People's Armed Police is technically under the Ministry of Public Security but may come under the dual leadership of the police and the army in times of crisis. The force is a significant presence in Beijing at all times but is only likely to act if there is a major emergency and then only under specific orders. At times of heightened security but no emergency, the presence of PAP officers is more obvious than usual. They may, for example, be stationed ten meters apart on a major thoroughfare or around Tiananmen Square.

Like uniformed and plainclothes PSB officers, PAP officers carry guns. PAP officers most likely will be guarding the NGO Forum site. According to an official Chinese report, the force is helping with "reinforced" training for the first all-women police force in China, sixty-six officers who will be "responsible" for "security service" at the conference.

The report emphasized that the women officers are learning about international politics and women's rights and interests, and that many of them speak English.

You can distinguish the services by their uniforms: green-brown for the PSB, green for the PAP with red stripes down the sides of the trousers, and their insignia-bearing hats. Public Security Bureau officers wear stiff, high peaked hats; the People's Armed Police wear less structured caps.

Traffic control in China is managed by a section of the PSB which does not normally intervene in surveillance or security operations. Those officers are easily recognizable directing traffic at major intersections. As a first line of surveillance in some neighborhoods and streets, the neighborhood or street committee appoints a local resident, usually elderly and unemployed, female or male, as a "watchman." That person, recognizable by the red armband he wears, is under the unofficial but direct control of the local Public Security Bureau station. Each watchman keeps a lookout for anything unusual happening in his neighborhood, an unexpected number of visitors for example, or a significant change in a family's activity pattern. Of his own volition, he can be in immediate direct contact with the officer at the local police station assigned to his neighborhood. Should the officer think it necessary, he might visit, stroll around, and chat with one or more of the residents.


There are some simple precautions you can take before you leave home and throughout your stay in Beijing and Huairou to better secure your own safety and well-being.

Register with your country's embassy in Beijing either before you leave home or on arrival in China; know whom to contact in China should you need medical or other emergency help Before you go to China, ask the relevant government department, for example, the Foreign Ministry or the State Department, in your home country for information on how to register with your representatives in Beijing and for the relevant addresses and fax and telephone numbers. When you register with the embassy in Beijing, provide your name, date, and place of birth; your passport number and when and where it was issued; where you are staying in Beijing and, if possible, a telephone number; your travel itinerary; and a contact name and telephone number in your home country.

During your stay in Beijing and Huairou, keep the information about your embassy with you at all times.

Nationals from countries without representation in Beijing should check with their home governments about whom to contact in an emergency.

Carry your passport or photocopies of data and/or photo pages with you at all times; leave another copy with the NGO Forum office or at home

Report a lost passport immediately

Two reports are required, one to your country's embassy or consulate and one to the local police. In China, a police report is necessary for the issuance of a new visa.

Travel with a friend or two in and around Beijing

Should something happen to you or should you be asked to accompany a police officer, one friend can stay with you while another notifies the embassy or consulate and other relevant parties. That person can periodically check for new developments and pass the updated information on to others.

Know the penalties

The penalties for carrying drugs or pornography into China or buying or selling them while there are severe. Foreign nationals caught with drugs are serving long prison sentences.

Should you choose to try to visit political dissidents, you need to be aware of the risks to yourself and to them. You may be searched and deported; dissidents and their families may face intense interrogation, increased surveillance, and even arrest. If you are asked to carry photographs, letters or documents out of the country and decide to comply, the risks to all involved parties multiply.

Know your rights; know the limitations

If detained, and if any issue of alleged criminal offense arises, insist on access to a consular official. Consulates are not always notified when one of their citizens is being held. Do not sign a pre-prepared confession. Consular conventions often provide a time period before which access by a representative of the detainee's home country is permitted. But remember that in China, Chinese law prevails.

Although a consular official can visit and give you advice, bring you mail, facilitate messages between you and your family, and assist in transmitting money, food, and clothing, he cannot get you released. All nationals should check before leaving home as to their rights under their own country's consular agreement.

Legal System

Knowing the rudiments of the Chinese legal system might be helpful should you inadvertently find yourself in trouble.

Knowing your rights as a foreign citizen will certainly be helpful; not knowing the local language will make it difficult for you to exercise them.

Foreign nationals' experiences of detention and harassment include:

Strip-searching and incommunicado detention. In May 1995, a French woman about to leave the country was strip-searched by women police officers so that they could recover personal letters she was carrying for a Tibetan friend. Two weeks later, a second French woman who gave a letter to the first woman was also strip-searched and ordered to leave China. Neither woman was permitted to contact the French Embassy.

The initial detentions, searches, and parts of the interrogations were videotaped, as was one woman's "confession."

Your first stop, should you be detained, might be the local police station. If it is, you will probably spend considerable time in the waiting room while the local police find out how to deal with you. If the decision is made that you be questioned, you might have to continue to wait until a translator is located. Should you be held overnight, you might remain in the waiting room or be moved to a "guest house."

Much that happens to you subsequently is dependent on your alleged offense. Chinese officials are not trying to create incidents which will result in international repercussions, but, under certain circumstances, they are likely to first order extensive questioning, then order your expulsion. One major category of offense has to do with the transmission of sensitive information, particularly in relation to political dissidence, religious restrictions, prison conditions, economic instability, and Tibet. A visit or an attempted visit to a political activist or his family would be sufficient cause for the police to question you at length. If they suspected you of carrying letters, or even worse, classified documents, the questioning would be more intense. You would be asked about your contacts in China; you, your room, and your belongings would be searched for incriminating evidence; and your contacts in China would, at a minimum, come under increased surveillance. If you were suspected of supplying funds to dissident political, religious or independence organizations, the consequences for all concerned would be similar.

Drug possession is a major offense. If suspected, you are not likely to be released and expelled after questioning.

Instead, expect to formally enter the judicial system. Know that in China, indefinite, but often lengthy, incommunicado detention is common. So is administrative sentencing without trial on police say-so. Once Chinese authorities decide that a case is to be prosecuted, a suspect may find herself in one of two tracks. If she enters the criminal track, she must be formally arrested within ten days from the date of detention. However, there are enough loopholes in the Chinese Criminal Procedure Code to keep a suspect in detention while the state collects evidence. Alternately, a suspect can be detained without charge while the state builds its case. If the evidence proves insufficient, she can be released without ever having been charged. Orif there is strong evidence, she can be switched to the criminal track and formally arrested.

In criminal cases, the facts and the issue of guilt are determined through a pre-trial investigation conducted by the state. The trial ratifies an agreed-upon verdict. A suspect is not entitled to a defense lawyer until the trial date has been set. In theory, the defense minimally has seven days to prepare; in practice, it can be a matter of hours. Appeals must be filed within three to ten days, and are almost always denied. In administratively adjudicated cases, there is no trial and no representation for the accused. Sentences, termed "re-education through labor," can run for as long as three years, Foreign suspects are usually criminally charged.

Once adjudication is complete, prisoners are sent to a variety of institutions, among them prisons and labor camps.

Prisoners work, many in prison-run factories and mines, or on prison farms. Foreign prisoners usually serve out their terms in prisons.


Two categories of journalists will be present in Beijing during the NGO Forum and the Fourth World Conference on Women: those accredited only to the meetings and the permanent Beijing press corps. Contacts with journalists accredited only for the conferences are limited to conference sites in Beijing and Huairou. That means press interviews or distribution of caucus statements or position papers to the media cannot take place in the hotel bar or coffee shop . And it means that the non-permanent press corps will be denied access to Chinese citizens who are notpart of the conferences. To further limit contacts between temporarily accredited journalists and conference participants, the two groups will be housed separately.

The Beijing press corps will not operate under the same restrictions, but if members want access to conference sites, they must be specially accredited. Resident journalists are responsible for knowing the Foreign Ministry press guidelines and applicable local ordinances, for example, those issued by the Tiananmen Square Administration Committee. Many "guidelines" are ad hoc and become regulations after the fact.

Press corps members have a good deal to lose should the Chinese object to their presence at certain venues or to the stories they file. At sensitive political junctures, and the duration of the NGO Forum and the Fourth World Conference is just such a time, practicing their profession can be particularly difficult for reporters. Police have detained and interrogated foreign journalists; searched their quarters; confiscated files, films, and tapes; forced some to sign incriminating statements before escorting them to the airport; beaten others; and rescinded credentials.

The Hong Kong press is particularly at risk in that the Chinese treat all its journalists as Chinese citizens except for those few traveling on British passports rather than on "return to mainland" visas. In May 1994, China banned ten Hong Kong reporters from covering a major news story in China because they had taken part in a boycott of official press events. They had done so to protest the twelve-year sentence of a colleague, Xi Yang, for reporting the government's plans for interest rate changes and its policy on international gold transactions, both topics officially regarded as state financial secrets.

There are other ways Chinese interference might severely affect the foreign media's ability to disseminate news. All journalists and "professionals," a term left undefined, must obtain advance permission from the Chinese government to bring any electronic equipment into the country. Application of the regulation is up to Chinese officials. Central Television, which has agreed to facilitate satellite transmission for the women's conference, could act as a censor; it could charge exorbitantly. As of mid-June, journalists from major foreign media outlets had been denied Chinese visas; similarly, foreign radio broadcasters had been denied the opportunity to discuss, on-site in China, technical transmission arrangements for the conference. In one particular case, a journalist already invited by Inmarsat, an international consortium of satellite providers to which China belongs, to discuss such questions, was denied a visa without explanation the day before he was to leave home. If the authorities object to video coverage, Chinese technicians could cut the "feed" as they did to CNN during the 1994 Tiananmen Square anniversary period.

Visitors should be aware, as is the press corps, that phone, fax, and e-mail communications from hotels and conferences sites will be transmitted over phone lines that are probably not secure.

Permanent Beijing Press Corps: A Sampling

We list below a sampling of news organizations that maintain permanent bureaus in Beijing; not all countries are represented. Our sampling includes wire services, television and radio stations that broadcast to most regions of the world, magazines with international circulation, and a variety of daily newspapers. In addition, we provide a partial listing of the officers of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Beijing. For information on media outlets not included in this sampling, we suggest you contact one of the club's officers.

Foreign Correspondents Club

Jean Leclerc du Sablon, Le Figaro (France), 532-


George Wehrfritz, Newsweek (U.S.), 532-2167, fax


Krzyszton Darewicz, PAP (Press Agency of

Poland), 532-1981

Charlene Fu, AP (Associated Press) (U.S.), 532-


Wire Services

AFP (France), 532-1992, fax 532-2371

ANSA (Italy), 532-3651, fax 532-1954

AP (Associated Press) (U.S.), 532-3419

APP (Pakistan), 532-3984

DPA (Germany), 532-1473, fax 532-1615

Delo (Slovenia), 532-4027

Islamic Republic News Agency (Iran), 532-5403

Kyodo (Japan), 532-2680, fax 532-5798

Notimex News Agency (Mexico), 532-1831

NRC-Handlesblad (Netherlands), 532-4832, fax


PAP (Press Agency of Poland), 532-1981

PTI (India), 532-2221

Reuters (UK), 532-1921, fax 532-4978

Tass (Russian Federation), 532-4821

UPI (United Press International) (U.S.), 532-3271,

fax 532-3456


Aftenposten (Norway), 532-3370

Antara (Indonesia), 532-6439

Asahi Shimbun (Japan), 532-5239, fax 532-1998

Baltimore Sun (U.S.), 532-3120, fax 532-5227

Chicago Tribune (U.S.), 532-2983, fax 532-1172

Financial Times (UK), 592-4470, fax 592-4472

Fothade S. Paulo (Brazil), 958-1020

Globe and Mail (Canada), 532-1661

Independent (UK), 532-5320

Le Figaro (France), 532-2325

Le Monde (France), 532-1467

Los Angeles Times (U.S.), 532-1982, fax 532-6498

Montsame (Mongolia), 532-1203

New York Times (U.S.), 532-3115, fax 532-5576

South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), 532-4971,

fax 532-4812

Sydney Morning Herald (Australia), 532-2778

Wall Street Journal/Asian Wall Street Journal

(U.S.), 532-3673

Washington Post (U.S.), 532-3464, fax 532-1229

Yomiuri Shimbun (Japan), 532-2053, fax 512-5075


Der Spiegel (Germany), 532-3541. fax 532-5453

Far Eastern Economic Review (UK), 532-1550, fax


Newsweek (U.S.), 532-2167, fax 532-2666

Time (U.S.), 532-2669, fax 532-1293

Radio and Television

ABC (Australia), 532-2410

ABC (U.S.), 532-2671, fax 532-2668

BBC (U.K.), 532-3777, fax 532-4691

CBC (Canada), 532-1510

CBS (U.S.), 532-4861, fax 532-4860

CNN (U.S.), 532-6013, fax 532-6014

NBC (U.S.), 532-3153, fax 532-1227

NHK (Japan), 532-1251

VOA (U.S.), 532-3290, fax 532-3857


Human Rights Watch conducts regular, systematic investigations of human rights abuses in some seventy countries around the world. It addresses the human rights practices of governments of all political stripes, of all geopolitical alignments, and of all ethnic and religious persuasions. In internal wars it documents violations by both governments and rebel groups. Human Rights Watch defends freedom of thought and expression, due process and equal protection of the law; it documents and denounces murders, disappearances, torture, arbitrary imprisonment, exile, censorship and other abuses of internationally recognized human rights.

Human Rights Watch began in 1978 with the founding of its Helsinki division. Today, it includes five divisions covering Africa, the Americas, Asia, the Middle East, as well as the signatories of the Helsinki accords. It also includes five collaborative projects on arms transfers, children's rights, free expression, prison conditions, and women's rights. It maintains offices in New York, Washington, Los Angeles, London, Brussels, Moscow, Dushanbe, Rio de Janeiro, and Hong Kong. Human Rights Watch is an independent, nongovernmental organization, supported by contributions from private individuals and foundations worldwide. It accepts no government funds, directly or indirectly.

The staff includes Kenneth Roth, executive director; Cynthia Brown, program director; Holly J. Burkhalter, advocacy director; Robert Kimzey, publications director; Jeri Laber, special advisor; Gara LaMarche, associate director; Lotte Leicht, Brussels Office Director; Juan Mndez, general counsel; Susan Osnos, communications director; Jemera Rone, counsel; Joanna Weschler, United Nations representative; and Derrick Wong, finance and administration director.

The regional directors of Human Rights Watch are Abdullahi An-Na'im, Africa; Jos Miguel Vivanco, Americas; Sidney Jones, Asia; Holly Cartner (acting), Helsinki; and Christopher E. George, Middle East. The project directors are Joost R. Hiltermann, Arms Project; Lois Whitman, Children's Rights Project; Gara LaMarche, Free Expression Project; and Dorothy Q. Thomas, Women's Rights Project.

The members of the board of directors are Robert L. Bernstein, chair; Adrian W. DeWind, vice chair; Roland Algrant, Lisa Anderson, Peter D. Bell, Alice L. Brown, William Carmichael, Dorothy Cullman, Irene Diamond, Edith Everett, Jonathan Fanton, Alan R. Finberg, Jack Greenberg, Alice H. Henkin, Harold Hongju Koh, Jeh Johnson, Stephen L. Kass, Marina Pinto Kaufman, Alexander MacGregor, Josh Mailman, Andrew Nathan, Jane Olson, Peter Osnos, Kathleen Peratis, Bruce Rabb, Orville Schell, Sid Sheinberg, Gary G. Sick, Malcolm Smith, Nahid Toubia, Maureen White, and Rosalind C. Whitehead.

Addresses for Human Rights Watch

485 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10017-6104 Tel: (212) 972-8400, Fax: (212) 972-0905, E-mail: [email protected]

1522 K Street, N.W., #910, Washington, DC 20005-1202 Tel: (202) 371-6592, Fax: (202) 371-0124, E-mail: [email protected]

10951 West Pico Blvd., #203, Los Angeles, CA 90064-2126 Tel: (310) 475-3070, Fax: (310) 475-5613, E-mail: [email protected]

33 Islington High Street, N1 9LH London, UK Tel: (171) 713-1995, Fax: (171) 713-1800, E-mail: [email protected]

15 Rue Van Campenhout, 1040 Brussels, Belgium Tel: (2) 732-2009, Fax: (2) 732-0471, E-mail: [email protected]