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  • Incident Reports, Statements | 26 January, 2014 (11:59)

    Violence against foreign journalists

    The FCCC board on Friday sent the following letter to Ms. Chen Mingjian at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Information Department, protesting about the violent treatment of foreign correspondents outside the court where Xu Zhiyong was being tried last Wednesday.

    These are the links for the video footage referred to in the letter below:
    http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/22/world/asia/china-activist-trial-media/
    http://news.sky.com/story/1198942/amnesty-fears-over-trial-of-chinese-lawyer
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-25838209

    Dear Ms. Chen,

    We are writing to you to express our deep concern at the rough treatment to which journalists covering the trial of activist Xu Zhiyong were subjected on January 22nd, 2014.

    We call on the Chinese authorities to stop the use of physical coercion and harassment against foreign journalists, and strictly adhere to China’s laws and regulations and international standards and practices.

    Specifically, we urge the authorities to respect the rules permitting foreign journalists to report in public spaces. The FCC is aware of several incidents in which journalists outside the courthouse were manhandled and had equipment broken by uniformed policemen or unidentified personnel. All of them were outside the cordon that the police had set up near the court.

    Additionally, unidentified plainclothes agents prevented two foreign TV crews from interviewing Dr. Xu’s lawyer when he left the court on Wednesday evening, violating Chinese government regulations permitting reporters to interview anyone willing to speak to them.

    We also insist that law enforcement personnel should identify themselves – as required by Chinese law – when they deal with foreign journalists.

    In 2008, we welcomed new regulations that moved China’s media policy closer to international standards. The FCCC is deeply concerned by this week’s further signs of a deteriorating work environment for foreign journalists in China.

    We would be happy to provide you with further information, including video footage, about the unfortunate incidents last Wednesday, and to discuss with you steps that might be taken to avoid any repetition of such events.

    Thank you for your attention to our concerns,

    The FCCC board