Thu, May 17, 2018 - Page 6 News List

Fury after police attack HK journalist in Chinese capital

AFP, HONG KONG

A Hong Kong journalist was yesterday arrested and left injured while trying to interview a human rights lawyer in Beijing, the second violent incident against the territory’s reporters in China within a week.

Television footage showed police bundling cameraman Chui Chun-ming (徐駿銘) to the ground and dragging him into a van.

Chui, a Beijing-based journalist for Hong Kong’s Now TV channel, was released hours later after signing a letter of remorse.

Now TV expressed “extreme anger” over the “unreasonable and violent obstruction during their lawful reporting in Beijing.”

The incident came four days after another Hong Kong journalist was kicked and beaten by two men while covering the 10th anniversary of a devastating earthquake in Sichuan.

The men claimed they were “ordinary people,” but local residents said they were linked to the government, according to Hong Kong media.

Yesterday’s footage showed police obstructing Chui and asking to see his press pass as he attempted to reach a hearing at the Beijing Lawyers Association.

The hearing was to decide whether human rights lawyer Xie Yan-yi (謝燕益), whom Chui was trying to interview, should have his license revoked, Now TV said.

Xie was one of the lawyers arrested in Beijing’s “709 crackdown” of 2015, which marked the largest ever clampdown on the legal profession in China.

When Chui asked police to return his press pass after inspection, several officers forced him to the ground, where two plainclothes men pinned his arms behind his back and pushed his head down.

He was then handcuffed and put in the van, with Xie also taken away in a police car.

The Hong Kong Journalists Association urged China to stop “uncivilized acts and suppression” of reporting work. It handed a joint letter signed by local media to China’s liaison office in the territory.

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China also called for “an immediate end to violence against journalists in China.”

However, Hong Kong officials refused to condemn police actions when pressed by reporters, saying that they needed to “establish the facts.”

Hong Kong Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung (張建宗) said the government was “very concerned” about the safety of the territory’s reporters carrying out their duties “anytime, anywhere.”

Chui was held for four hours then released to hospital to check injuries to his forehead, wrists and knees.

Now TV said he was requested to sign a letter of remorse to admit that he had displayed a “radical reaction” and was “interfering with a public function” before he was released.

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