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China 20 May 2005

Journalist on daily Nanfang Dushi Bao has two fingers cut off

Reporters Without Borders reacted with horror to an attack on journalist Wen Chong in which unknown assailants attacked him in his home and cut of the index and middle finger of his right hand.

Two men burst into the home of the 30-year-old journalist with Nanfang Dushi Bao (Southern Metropolis Daily) on 18 May 2005 in Zhongshan, in the south of Guangdong province. The organisation urged the Chinese authorities to carry out a thorough investigation to find and punish the perpetrators of this "barbaric act".

The assailants, who began by raining blows onto the journalist, fled afterwards taking the journalist’s amputated fingers with them. He was immediately treated in hospital.

The reasons for the attack remain unclear but appear likely to be linked to Wen’s work. Nanfang Dushi Bao is a big seller in the region and one of the country’s very few investigative newspapers. The reformist daily carries articles about controversial subjects such as the reappearance of the SARS virus, in 2003, and the unfair detention of immigrant workers.

Its stance has already cost five months in custody to its former editor Cheng Yizhong, winner of the UNESCO 2005 World Press Freedom Prize. Two of his colleagues, Yu Huafeng and Li Minying, respectively former managing director and former editor of Nanfang Dushi Bao who were arrested for the same reason, are still serving prison sentences of 12 and 11 years for "corruption and embezzlement of public funds".

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