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  • Incident Reports | 15 June, 2008 (02:59)

    Shanxi Officials Block Journalists’ Access To Coal Mine

    Local officials and police followed for three days and harassed a reporter and photographer from the Danish newspaper Berlingske Tidende, preventing them from interviewing miners and local residents about a coal mine disaster in Shanxi province.

    Ten uniformed officers blocked the journalists from getting near the mine outside of Xiaoyi. The officers, who refused to show identity cards, would not answer questions about the presence of police and emergency vehicles at the mine. When the journalists attempted to interview truck drivers and other local residents, officials approached them and said a propaganda official would come to meet them. That meeting was followed by two more days of negotiations and dinners with officials who promised to show them a coal mine and allow them to interview miners.

    Eventually, the correspondents gained access to an empty mine scheduled to open in 2009. Officials then drove the team to a road blocked by a giant mud puddle, telling them it was the county’s only road to a coal mine. (The county has 184 mines).

    “Had they said `No, we don’t want to show you a coal mine,’ we would have gone elsewhere on our own. Instead, they constantly delayed [us] and we never saw anything,” recalled the journalist. “They were not threatening, they were just professionally obstructing our work.”