Feature

Press freedom remains a distant dream.

The week's news at a glance.

Malaysia

Baradan Kuppusamy
Asia Times (China)

Malaysia’s government doesn’t take kindly to criticism, said Baradan Kuppusamy in Hong Kong’s Asia Times. A Chinese-language newspaper in Kuala Lumpur, China Press, found that out last week after it published an exposé of police abuse. Chinese women had been complaining that Malaysian police would detain them on visa violations and force them to strip and do “nude squats” for the cops’ amusement. China was outraged at this treatment of its nationals, and Malaysian Home Minister Azmi Khalid had to rush to Beijing to convey his apologies. Turned out, though, that the particular woman in the photos that accompanied the article was not Chinese at all, but a local, ethnic Malay woman. The government, furious that it had been humiliated because of an error, moved quickly against China Press. “Editor-in-chief Chong Choong Nam and executive editor-in-chief Wang Zhao Ping were sacked and the paper was made to eat humble pie.” No matter that the gist of the story—that police really are abusing Chinese women—was true. In the press sphere, as in human rights, “systematic oppression” continues.

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