Foreign Journalists Beaten, Harrassed in China: Report

Posted August 21st, 2012 at 1:35 am (UTC-5)
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A group of foreign journalists is complaining about a recent series of threats, harassment and beatings against international news reporters working in China.

In a statement Tuesday, the Foreign Correspondents' Club of China (FCCC) says it is alarmed by the nature and frequency of the incidents, some of which are reported to have involved state security forces.

Several international journalists are said to have been assaulted, had equipment confiscated and been forcibly detained during at least four separate incidents in various locations from late July until mid-August.

The Beijing-based FCCC, along with its sister organizations in Hong Kong and Shanghai, says the incidents represent a “clear risk of serious physical harm to journalists merely carrying out there professional duties in China.”

Foreign journalists have long complained of official interference in their reporting in the Communist country, where local authorities have attempted to retain tight control of the flow of information.

Authorities have been increasingly on-edge as the date of a sensitive, once-a-decade transfer of power in the Communist party draws closer.

Tuesday's statement says a Shanghai-based journalist from a Japan's Asahi Shimbun is said to have been beaten by police while covering a demonstration in eastern Jiangsu province, July 28. His equipment, reported to be worth several thousands dollars, was taken by authorities and has not been returned.

On August 10, plainclothes police are said to have assaulted a reporter for Hong Kong's Asia Television as he filmed members of the public being arrested outside a courthouse in the eastern city, Hefei.

A day later, a German television crew in Henan province was alleged to have been attacked by a mob, accused of being spies and detained for nine hours at a chemical factory before being released.

The statement also says two reporters from Poland and the United States were followed and intimidated by several cars and individuals while reporting in the northern city, Ordos, on August 13.

The statement was sent by the FCCC, the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Hong Kong, and the Shanghai Foreign Correspondents' Club. It calls for “authorities at all levels to ensure that journalists are protected from violence and intimidation.”