Norwegian Journalists Barred From Tibetan Area, Intimidated

Mar 11, 2009

LOCATION: Sichuan, Ganzi Tibetan autonomous prefecture, about 120 km south of Kangding
TYPE OF INCIDENT: Intimidation, journalist and staff followed and filmed, ordered to leave area
TOPIC: Anniversary of the Tibetan uprising

QUOTE: “I told them I was a bonafide journalist, I presented my press card, I told them that according the new rules we were in our full right — they just shrugged.”

DESCRIPTION: This TV and radio correspondent with cameraman and locally hired driver were followed by police car from Chengdu, then stopped at roadblock by a tunnel. Armed police forces were present, but we were stopped by a “swat” police team, with automatic weapons. A civilian who, when pressed, stated his name was Chen, and representing Luding County, told us the weather was too bad for us to continue our travel. When we objected, and stated that we were bona fide reporters with press cards issued by proper authorities, another civilian gentleman came by and said it was time for us to leave — no discussion. A woman, when pressed for name said she was Miss Liu, took notes — and an officer photographed this reporter’s passport. We were also filmed from several angles. Half an hour later, on our way back, a group of four men without uniforms but with armbands in a white police van, registration plate TD-170, told us to stop filming while we were shooting a standup further down the road. They called in reinforcements, and another gentleman demanded we follow him to a police checkpoint. None of these people would give their names, no-one volunteered their badges. At a checkpoint, my passport was filmed again by policeman in uniform. Upon arrival in the outskirts of Chengdu, we were again stopped, “swat” police and Armed Police forces had us wait for 20 minutes while they searched our car.