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China 29 September 2006

Eight journalists beaten by plain clothes police

Reporters Without Borders today condemned the severe beating which eight Chinese journalists received from plain-clothes police and security guards when they went to cover a fatal road accident at a bridge in Renhe, in the southern province of Guangdong, on 26 September.

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“This incident is typical of the difficult conditions in which Chinese journalists work,” the press freedom organisation said. “They often find themselves attacked by men in plain clothes who have come from a police station or the city hall, and who are helped by ‘security guards.’ Once again, we call the authorities to put an end to these gratuitous attacks and to punish those responsible.”

The eight journalists involved were from Yancheng Wanbao (YCWB), Nanfang Dianshitai (Southern TV), Xin Kuaibao (New Express) and Nanfang Dushi Bao (Southern Metropolis Daily). On arriving at the accident scene, they were intercepted by plain-clothes men and security guards managing the traffic and were led away to a dark room where they were beaten and their equipment was taken from them.

Later, an unidentified man who had come from a municipal office even prevented ambulance crews from giving them first aid. A journalist from Nanfang Dushi Bao had to be taken to hospital so that a nail impaled in his foot could be removed. The journalists managed to photograph their assailants and get the licence number of one of the ‘security guards.’

An investigation was ordered by Wang Huayuan, the deputy secretary of the Guangdong Communist Party committee.




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