FCCC Statement on Journalists Assaulted
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China condemns the harassment of and violence against overseas media and their local staff by Chinese authorities in an apparent effort to block reporting of the trial of lawyer Pu Zhiqiang in Beijing today.
Uniformed security officers as well as men who appeared to be plainclothes officers yelled at, shoved and otherwise sought to obstruct journalists in their normal course of work outside the Beijing courthouse.
FCCC members report at least one foreign journalist was slammed to the ground by a security officer. Others were pushed, shoved and punched in the back as they were hustled away from the site. Security officials physically manhandled several TV journalists. Diplomats were subjected to similar violence and journalists attempting to interview diplomats on site were also blocked.
Some members also report that police attempted to thwart coverage by demanding impromptu meetings at the same time as the trial was getting underway.
This effort to deter news coverage is a gross violation of Chinese government rules governing foreign correspondents, which expressly permit them to interview anybody who consents to be interviewed.
Legal coverage is a normal part of journalistic work and is expected grow as China pushes to develop its rule of law.
The FCCC calls on the Chinese government and police to halt their harassment of and physical intimidation against foreign reporters and to abide by their own rules concerning the international media.