BCM 332 Case Study:Rights Of the Press Liberty in China (Part 2)

Four days later, we heard our Hong Kong journalists were violently treated by China Public Security in Mainland.

On May 16, Beijing Human Rights Lawyer Xie Yan Yi was sent to the Beijing Bar Association to hold a hearing for illegally sentencing Yinchuan Falun Gong practitioners. On the same day, several overseas reporters interviewed Xie Yan Yi and his wife at the hearing. They were violently obstructed by Beijing police. Among them, the Hong Kong Now TV News reporter Xu Junming, a Beijing-based photojournalist, was subjected to violent attacks by plainclothes and other police officers during the interview and was subsequently taken into a police car. Xu Junming was released after being controlled by the police for several hours and forced to sign a penitent.

In just a few days, two incidents of assaulting the Hong Kong media journalists have occurred, which has caused intense public concern. It can thus be seen that it is an ordinary phenomenon that the normal interview with reporters is blocked by violence in China Mainland. Such acts of trampling on press freedom and brutally blocking interviews are not one-and-a-half events. It has happened many times in the past.


(Photo source: BBC fragment screenshots)

2 December 2006 : U.S. Reporters Detained in Interview

Agents from the local police, Foreign Ministry office and Customs Department detained Kahn, The New York Times Beijing bureau chief, and International Herald Tribune reporter Roger Cohen while they were interviewing a businessman in Zigui, near the Three Gorges Dam in Hubei province.

According to the “New York Times” report, two journalists questioned by the agents of MPS (Ministry of Public Security of the People’s Republic of China) about their reporting activities. The agents of MPS confiscation their passports and asked them to write down “confessions.” The two journalists were detained for an hour before being released.

16 January 2007: In China, a reporter was beaten to death at the illegal mine

According to news reports, unidentified men from an illegal mine in Huiyuan County, Shanxi Province, severely beat the reporter Lan Chengzhang on January 9th, causing him to die the next day. Local officials claimed Lan did not provide the official certification so he was not a legitimate journalist, according to Nanfang Ribao.  Lan actually had been working for the Shanxi bureau of the Beijing-based newspaper Zhongguo Maoyi Bao (China Trade News) for less than a month actually.

13 August 2008: ITN journalist, covering demonstrators in Beijing, is roughed up

John Ray, a journalist of the British television station ITN, was detained by the police and treated harshly when he reported a pro-Tibet student demonstration in Beijing on Wednesday. According to reports from Swiss media, Ray said that he was dragged into a nearby restaurant and was forcibly detained by the police.

“I tried to explain to them that I was a British journalist, but they would not even let me take out my identification documents,” the BBC quoted Ray as saying.

18 December  2008:  Belgian TV crew attacked in China

On 25 November 2008, Tom Van de Weghe, VRT ATTACKED Eight assailants pulled Belgian journalist Van de Weghe, an Australian cameraman, and a Belgian assistant, from their vehicle before beating them and stealing money and equipment during a reporting job in Henan province, central China, according to the Foreign Correspondents Club of China and international news reports. The crew was recording interviews with AIDS patients in advance of World AIDS Day for the Flemish Radio and Television network VRT.

15 September 2016: Chinese police detain, assault Hong Kong journalists for covering the protest

The Committee for the Protection of Correspondents stated on September 15, 2016, that the Chinese authorities should carry out credible independent investigations against allegations that the police have attacked journalists and allowed reporters to carry out their work (including protests without restrictions). Their employers reported that last night, the police in the southern part of Guangdong Province, China, attacked and detained five journalists from the Hong Kong news media and prevented many from going to villages that had recently become protest sites.

Through these news facts, China’s news environment is very limited. Space for any journalists to properly interview in mainland China is gradually being suppressed. Being attacked, detained, cross-examined, unreasonably accused and treated with violence even journalists’ life is threatened by telling the truth.

According to the CPJ report, more than half of the globally imprisoned reporters are charged with anti-state crimes. China is the most severe prison in the world. Of the 44 journalists who were imprisoned, since the CPJ began the annual census in 1990-29, the country with the largest number of Chinese has been anti-state accusations.

Gao Yu, one of 44 journalists behind bars in China, was detained on charges of illegally providing state secrets abroad, days after details of Document 9 appeared in Mirror Monthly, a Chinese-language political magazine in New York. Gao, 70, confessed on official state broadcaster CCTV, but during her closed trial, on November 21, 2014, she said that the confession was false and made only to prevent her son from being threatened and harassed, her lawyer said.

Mainland China dismisses the freedom of the press and the right to know the people, brutally tramples it, and stops it with violence if necessary. This practice not only does not respect the freedom of the press and the right of reporters to legally interview, but it does not even have the least respect for the personal safety of people.

When an injured journalist was arrested, he was even deprived of his basic rights. He could not contact the outside world, nor could he go to the hospital for a medical examination to understand how the injury was. He was also forced to sign a repentance book by the public security police, acknowledging that he had caused the incident and crashed into the MPS public security before he was allowed to leave. And go to the hospital for therapy.

Victims themselves must acknowledge that mistakes and responsibilities have always been the routine work of China Mainland government. This form compels journalists to lie. Any professional news agency and reporter would like to have a live report to let readers and citizens understand the latest developments and situations in the society. But the most authoritarian government policy block the truth out to cut off the threat of government.


Lu Feng盧峯. (17 May 2018).中港融合就得接受記者被毆打?. Appay Daily. retrieved from https://hk.news.appledaily.com/local/daily/article/20180517/20393570

鍾劍華. Director of the PolyU Social Policy Research Center. (15 May 2018). 謊言治國豈能不打記者. Appay Daily. retrieved from https://hk.news.appledaily.com/local/daily/article/20180515/20390993

Anonymous. (20 December 2006). U.S. Reporters Detained in Interview. CPJ. retrieved from https://cpj.org/2006/12/china-us-reporters-detained-while-interviewing-sou.phphttps://cpj.org/2006/12/china-us-reporters-detained-while-interviewing-sou.php

Anonymous. (16 January 2007). In China, reporter beaten to death at illegal mine. CPJ. retrieved from https://cpj.org/2007/01/in-china-reporter-beaten-to-death-at-illegal-mine.php

Anonymous. (13 August 2008). ITN journalist, covering demonstrators in Beijing, is roughed up.CPJ. retrieved from https://cpj.org/2008/08/itn-journalist-covering-demonstrators-in-beijing-i.php

Anonymous. (18 December  2008). Belgian TV crew attacked in China.CPJ. retrieved from https://cpj.org/2008/12/china-belgian-tv-crew-attacked.php

Anonymous. (15 September 2016).Chinese police detain, assault Hong Kong journalists for covering the protest.CPJ. retrieved from https://cpj.org/2016/09/chinese-police-detain-assault-hong-kong-journalist.php

Anonymous. (13 December 2017). Record number of journalists jailed as Turkey, China, Egypt pay scant price for repression. CPJ. retrieved from https://cpj.org/reports/2017/12/journalists-prison-jail-record-number-turkey-china-egypt.php


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