Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns a series of violent attacks against journalists
by unidentified thugs in the village
of Panhe, in China’s eastern Zhejiang Province.
On February 15 and 16, Remko
Tanis, correspondent for RTL Nieuws, and Baptiste
Fallevoz and his assistant Jack Zhang, journalists for France 24, were physically
assaulted, threatened and their research materials stolen by unidentified
people in Panhe village, Zhejiang Province.
According to an internal
alert issued by the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China, and reports on
foreign news websites, Remko Tanis was intercepted by a group of thugs while he
was interviewing a villager who was complaining of illegal land deals by local
officials in Panhe. Tanis
was then physically assaulted by the thugs and forcibly pushed into a car by
two officers from the local branch of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
While being escorted to
the nearby town of Longang by the officers, Tanis’ car was suddenly blocked, all the occupants were
pulled out from the car and Tanis
was beaten a second time, with his bag being taken away by a group of
unidentified people. Another car from the Foreign Affairs Office arrived later,
into which Tanis
and his colleagues were forcibly taken and removed back to a hotel in Longang. When
his bag was returned to him, Tanis
discovered that his note book, memory card and documents given to him by the
villager were missing.
“Their [local government
officials] objective is to get you out of their territory and not write
anything down, but of course that is the opposite of what actually happens”, Tanis told Radio
Another two journalists, Baptiste Fallevoz and Jack Zhang of France 24, experienced similar violence
the next day in the same village. According to a report onshanghaiist.comthey werefollowed by a car while on their way to Panhe
village. Upon arrival in Pange, they were immediately surrounded by around 20-30 plainclothes thugs. Zhang was beaten and his camera smashed. Zhang sustained injuries to his head in
On February 17, the
website for the propaganda department of Panhe’s Cangnan county, Wenzhou city, Zhejiang
province, reported that two drivers had quarrelled on February 16, without any
mention that journalists were brutally beaten on two occasions. It also
reported that Baptiste Fallevoz had agreed to settle the case and
had accepted compensation.
Since February 1, 2012,
three separate protests have been organized by the villagers of Panhe. Protests
have been sparked by allegations of illegal land deals being carried out by
local officials with private developer, without local villagers being informed
or provided with compensation. During the protests, three villagers were
arrested by police and charged with damaging public property.
According to the Article 17 of China’s Regulations on Reporting Activities in China by Foreign Journalists,
foreign journalists are free to interview all individuals in China once they
have obtained the interviewee’s consent.
“The IFJ is deeply
concerned by the brutal attacks on journalists in Panhe village, and the
failure of Chinese authorities to report on and properly investigate these
assaults”, IFJ Asia-Pacific office
inaction in response to these attacks effectively condones the assault and
intimidation of journalists.
The IFJ urges the Chinese
Premier Wen Jiaobo to direct the Public Security Bureau of China to open an investigation into
the assaults on journalists in Panhe village.
The IFJ also urges Premier Wen to honour his promises of improved press
freedom, and demand the Public Security Bureau immediately ensure its officers
adhere to the regulations protecting the rights of journalists.”
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +61 2 9333 0950
represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries
the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific
the IFJ on Facebook: www.facebook.com/IFJAsiaPacific