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  • Incident Reports | 8 August, 2008 (22:28)

    Xinjiang Police Detain AP Journalists

    An Associated Press writer and photographer were questioned by police, searched and detained at various locations over three days while covering the aftermath of bombings in Xinjiang province.

    AP journalist William Foreman and a photographer arrived in Yining, Xinjiang, near the Kazakhstan border, Friday evening and Foreman went to watch the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics on television outside with several workers from a local TV station. A manager arrived about 20 minutes into the ceremony and apparently called the police, who showed up a few minutes later and took Foreman to the police station. Photographer Ng Han Guan was picked up shortly after by a different group of police. Over the next 45 minutes, police did not allow Foreman to use his cell phone, videotaped the journalists and deleted images from the photographer’s camera, then released the pair.

    On Saturday, the two journalists were preparing to board a plane to Urumqi when security officials at the check-in counter took them to a separate room and searched their bags, looked through images on their cameras and turned on Foreman’s laptop – apparently to look for photos. They were allowed to board their plane with few minutes to spare.

    Mid-morning on Sunday, the AP team arrived in Kuqa, site of recent bombings, and were apprehended by police shortly after they began reporting in the town. Police told the pair the area was unsafe and they would have to go to the Kuqa Hotel, which Foreman said looked like a military command center. The journalists checked into the hotel and around 3 PM were allowed to leave and go about their reporting. Foreman reported no further problems in Kuqa after Monday.