We told you about some Chinese journalists probing the Fenghuang (凤凰) bridge collapse getting harassed and beaten by local thugs, and EastSouthWestNorth has followed up with a translation of a fascinating first-hand account of the assault on People’s Daily《人民日报》reporter Wang Kefei (王克非). He was accompanied by journalists from China Youth Daily《中国青年报》, the Southern Metropolis Daily《南方都市报》, the Economic Observer《经济观察报》 and Oriental Outlook 《瞭望东方周刊》, some of whom were also attacked. The attackers are allegedly men working for the local department of agriculture. The local propaganda chief has threatened to take legal action against the China Youth Daily, Southern Metropolis Daily and Oriental Outlook reporters for “illegal news coverage”, while the five reporters have threatened to sue the Fenghuang government.
There was nobody at the reception. The local government required that only reporters with press permits be allowed at the scene of the accident and the scene of the medical treatment, but no press permit was required at the hostel. The reporters felt that their news gathering was legal. At around 11:30am, a middle-aged man with glasses and red-clothes came in to ask us to show our work permits. At the time, he did not identify himself and we obviously refused. About 10 minutes later, the man brought in a group of seven or eight people including 3 women. He demanded aggressively for us to show our work permits. So Wang Weijian said that he was from People’s Daily and he asked the other party to show his work permit. But they did not show their work permits. They only said that they were workers. They wanted us to leave. We said that we were tourists and we have the right to be there. The men in red clothes said, “If you are tourists, you better leave!” At the time, Wang Weijian was sitting with his back to the door. Someone shoved him hard in the head, and then repeated that. It was a man wearing white and about 1.75 meters tall (I felt that he was an enformer). He came up and tried to grab Wang Weijian’s wrist. When he did not succeed, he went and shoved Wang a few times.
By that time, the other reporters came up to stop the man in white. During the tussle, someone kicked the China Youth Daily reporter and they kept assaulting us. The four reporters at the scene took out their identity documents and explained who they were, but they were still assaulted by seven or eight people for almost five minutes. (the Economic Observer reporter had gone out to photocopy something but he was assaulted when he returend).
At that time, the People’s Daily reporter Wang Weijian stood up and stood in front of the other four reporters. Since Wang had the work permit, he pointed to his own face and told the man in white: “You hit me in my face. You can hit me hard.” Of course, the man was scared to hit his face, but he continued to hit the rest of us. At that time, Wang saw that the situation was getting out of control and he took out his press card. He said, “I am from the People’s Daily.” Then they stopped, even though they still wanted to charge at us! During the whole episode, the reporters were relatively restrained. Wang Weijian and Hong Kefei received more injuries than the rest. [Read more…]
EastSouthWestNorth: Five Reporters Got Assaulted For Fenghuang Bridge Collapse Coverage
Tianya.cn: 人民日报记者凤凰采访遭殴打 某干部称大部分媒体都是非法采访
Photo from Tianya.cn of scene at the Baoqing Motel in Fenghuang County after the police were called in by the journalists after the assault: The woman in the white dress leaning against the wall is alleged to be one of the attackers.