Monday, May 26, 2014

Chinese Blogger Was Fired After Meeting With Kerry

By AUSTIN RAMZY 

ZHANG JIALONG AND SECRETARY KERRY ON FEBRUARY 15, 2014.
A Chinese blogger says he was fired from his job at one of China’s leading Internet companies for his comments during a February meeting in Beijing with the American secretary of state, John Kerry.
Zhang Jialong, who worked for Tencent Financial, said he was notified last week that he was being dismissed for “leaking business secrets and other confidential and sensitive information.” (Mr. Zhang revealed his dismissal in a blog post on Friday. The website China Change has posted an English translation.)
Mr. Zhang, 26, was invited by the United States Embassy to meet with Mr. Kerry during his China trip. 
He was one of four writers who met with the secretary, and he was particularly outspoken in his criticism of the Chinese system of controls and censorship that restricts what can be written and read online.
“Will you get together with the Chinese who aspire for freedom” and help “tear down this great firewall that blocks the Internet?” he asked
He also raised concerns about the detention of the legal scholar Xu Zhiyong and the house arrest of Liu Xia, a poet and the wife of the imprisoned Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo
Later he described his thoughts on the meeting in an article for Foreign Policy magazine.
His comments to Mr. Kerry did not go over well with his employer, Mr. Zhang wrote.
"At the time, the supervisor warned me that adjustments would be made to my job after Tencent discussed it with the propaganda authorities, including dismissal. 
"I was told to be prepared for that.
"My labor contract with Tencent wasn’t immediately terminated after the February meeting only because, I believe, they wanted to minimize its possible impact on China-US relations and the international media response."

A Tencent representative did not respond to a request for comment on Monday. 
The United States Embassy also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In his post, Mr. Zhang listed several examples of orders sent by government censors to media companies to restrict coverage of specific information. 
Such orders are sometimes divulged by workers who disagree with the controls on information. 
China Digital Times, a website based in Berkeley, Calif., that covers China news and digital media, compiles them under the title Ministry of Truth.
In an interview, Mr. Zhang acknowledged that he had leaked such directives and that that may have contributed to his firing along with his comments to Mr. Kerry. 
He said he did not expect to find another media job in China.
“Right now, I’m just going to rest,” he said. 
“Then I’m going to study English, and try to find a way to go to the U.S. or some other country to study.”
Post a Comment