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  • Incident Reports | 22 January, 2014 (11:29)

    Xu Zhiyong trial

    Wed 22 JAN 2014  – Beijing – Xu Zhiyong trial

    A BBC team – correspondent, cameraman, producer – turned up at the courthouse at 0845. We got out of our car at the north gate. We were met by police who checked our IDs and said we could not stay. They were polite and it was orderly.

    At around 1100 we were with other journalists about a hundred metres from the west gate of the court. Everyone was outside of the police cordon. Some petitioners were milling about. Then the police – for no clear reason – starting shoving us up the road. It lasted for about a minute and ended as abruptly as it started.

    And then there was a second incident around 1200. The video of the link is: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-china-blog-25839853

    As you can see, when we start the piece the police are about 30 metres away. I even say in the piece “it’s calmed down.” But then one policeman wanders up. He goes for the camera. About 30 seconds later, three plain-clothed thugs appear and manhandle us up the street. They keep going for the camera to try and kill the picture. And then they just disappear. No one was injured in the incident.

    We filmed the police cordon – a blue ticker tape – about 100 metres back from the court.

    In terms of the pavement we were on there was no clear police cordon as far as we were aware of. As you can see from the video, the police came to us from the direction of the court.


    CNN Correspondent David McKenzie and cameraman Charles Miller arrived soon after 11.00 am near the courthouse where Xu Zhiyong was due to be tried. They got out of their vehicle about 300 metres from the courthouse, on the opposite side of the road, and saw no police lines to indicate areas where they were not permitted.
    Uniformed policemen interrupted McKenzie as he did a piece to camera on the pavement and prevented Miller from filming. They seized both men, forcing McKenzie’s fingers back and pressing him to the ground as they forced him and his cameraman into an unmarked van. One man in civilian clothes hit McKenzie around the head and kicked his shins in the melee. Another broke Miller’s camera, snapping off its microphone and eye-piece.
    The two men were transferred to a police car which drove them a couple of kilometres from the courthouse and left them on the street.