The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is outraged by an abuse of power by the Police Bureau of Hunan Province, whose officers blocked and harassed three Hong Kong media workers who were reporting on a memorial service at a cemetery.
Hong Kong-based newspapers Ming Pao and Apple Daily reported that Lam Kin-Seng, a journalist for Hong Kong Cable Television, his cameraman Yip Chi-Kwan and their mainland Chinese driver were detained for six hours on May 4 by the police bureau in Shaoyang City, Hunan Province.
The journalists were detained along with six activists who had travelled to a cemetery in Shaoyang to pay tribute to Tiananmen Square dissident Li Wangyang, who died in suspicious circumstances in a <st1:state w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Hunan</st1:place></st1:state> hospital on June 6, 2012.
More than 10 policeman and security agents blocked access and took them away. After a long period of detention, the journalists and three activists were released and escorted out of the city. The remaining three Mainland activists were reportedly punished with five days’ in police detention.
According to reports one of the officers threatened Lam, saying: “I remember who you are!” During their detention the three media workers and several other detainees, including three Hong Kong activists, were interrogated separately. Police repeatedly asked them what route they took to Shaoyang and whom they had contacted. The officers also checked their cameras and smart phones and demanded that they delete the images.
Lam told the IFJ: ”When police officers understood they couldn’t force us to surrender the footage, they demanded officers of Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office to obtain it.”
One of Lam’s colleagues told the IFJ: “They claimed that we had not applied for permission to do news reporting. This is the usual excuse to accuse media.”
The IFJ said: “This is yet another example of <st1:country-region w:st="on">China</st1:country-region>’s police ignoring the Chinese Constitution and <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">China</st1:place></st1:country-region>’s obligations as a member of the United Nations. Authorities continue to abuse their power by blocking, threatening, detaining and interrogating journalists and deleting their materials.”
“We urge China’s Minister for Public Security, Guo Shengkun, the Governor of Hunan Province, Du Jiahao, and Wang Guangya, Director of Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office to investigate the case and make the report public.”
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0950
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