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China 25 July 2006

Reporter beaten to death by policeman in Guizhou province

Reporters Without Borders voiced shock today that reporter Xiao Guopeng of the daily Anshun was beaten to death by a policeman in the province of Guizhou on 18 July. The policeman has been arrested and a criminal investigation is under way. Xiao was the second journalist to die this year in China as a result of a beating by a police officer.

“We will not be satisfied with administrative sanctions,” the press freedom organisation said. “The judicial authorities must identify those responsible and impose prison sentences. We also call on the authorities to take the necessary measures to put an end to attacks against journalists and their assistants, as promised last February.”

Xiao, 39, was attacked by police officer Pan Dengfeng outside the building that houses his newspaper. Pan knock Xiao to the ground and continued to hit him despite the protests of a crowd that gathered. Xiao was finally rushed to a hospital where he died as a result of cerebral haemorrhaging.

The Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy linked the attack to a recent article by Xiao expressing strong criticism of the local police.

Wu Xianghu, the deputy editor of the Taizhou Evening News in Zhejiang province, died in February as a result of being beaten by a policeman because of an article criticising the local police. A local official told the Xinhua news agency at the time that measures would be taken to ensure that this kind of incident did not reoccur.

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