Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns the unexplained detention of two Hong Kong journalists
by local police at a Sichuan
A journalist, who wishes to remain
anonymous, told the IFJ that two Beijing-based journalists who work for the
Hong Kong-based Now Television broadcaster were detained by police at their
hotel in the early morning as they were leaving to report
on the court case of poet, writer and environmental activist Tan Zuoren.
Tan is charged with inciting
subversion of state power. According to Amnesty International,
it is believed that Tan’s detention is linked to reporting on the May 2008 Sichuan earthquake.
A police officer reportedly approached
the journalists claiming to be investigating a complaint that they were in
possession of drugs and other prohibited
goods. Several policeofficers then searched their rooms, the
source told the IFJ.
Despite the search yielding no
evidence, the journalists were held for several hours and police demanded they
delete images on their cameras. After a complaint
was filed at the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs
Office of the State Council, the journalists were released and the police left
“The aim of police of Sichuan is obviously to
try to block all media from covering the court case,” a colleague of the
detained journalists said.
statement issued by Now TV called on the Hong Kong
and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council to explain the reasons for the detention.
Reports of police attacking and
detaining several supporters of Tan, including avant-garde artist and
high-profile critic of China’s
government Ai Weiwei, were also reported by the Associated Press.
“Attempts by local authorities to
prevent local and international coverage of Tan’s court case or indeed any
court case are an obstruction of the journalists’ freedom of movement as well
as censorship,” IFJ General Secretary Aidan White
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
represents over 600,000 journalists in
120 countries worldwide