The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns
the brutal beating of journalists and the confiscation of journalistic
materials in Kashgar, in north-west China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous
Region, on the evening of August 4.
Two Japanese journalists were beaten by police while trying
to report on the aftermath of an attack on Monday which killed at least 16
police officers. The journalists, Masami Kawakita, 38, of Chunichi Shimbun and Shinji Katsuta, 37, of Nippon Television
Network, suffered injuries after being detained by police and barred from
reporting on the attack.
Two journalists from Hong Kong’s
ATV told the IFJ they were also detained and their footage was confiscated by
After the incident, police also reportedly forced an Agence
France Presse photographer to delete images taken in the vicinity of the hotel.
A Hong Kong journalist, who
requested not to be named, told the IFJ she saw border police demanding that
the journalists leave the area.
“I saw a journalist and cameraman of ATV and two Japanese
journalists, one was lifted by his arms and legs by the police, they were
manhandled by border police into a room,” she said.
Kawakita said he was surrounded by police and lifted off the
floor then thrown down and kicked in the ribs. He suffered lacerations on his
cheeks and elbows.
Another witness told the IFJ “I felt my life was threatened
because I didn’t know whether the police chasing us had weapons. I utterly do
not understand why the police of Xinjiang barred us from reporting.”
On the morning of August 5, police reportedly visited the hospital
where the journalists were recovering to apologise for the injuries and to
offer compensation for medical bills and damage to equipment.
However, China Daily,
a government controlled newspaper, reported that Liu Yaohua, head of Xinjiang’s
public security department, said of the journalists’ attempts to report that “the
act was not well-justified and they should accept the consequences.”
Reporting regulations issued in 2007 allow journalists from
all countries including Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan
to report freely and to interview Chinese citizens with consent.
“This brutal interference in reporting is totally contrary
to the letter and spirit of China’s
reporting regulations,” said IFJ Asia-Pacific.
“There can be no free reporting under such repressive
conditions. We demand that China
take immediate steps to prevent violence against and interference with media
workers who are simply trying to do their job.”
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +612 9333 0919
represents over 600,000 in 122 countries worldwide