The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns the staff of a giant beverage manufacturer for brutally attacking a journalist on August 19.
Li Runwen, a reporter with China Youth Daily, went with an intern to investigate alleged extortion of student wages at a factory belonging to the Hangzhou Wahaha Group Co, Ltd (also known as Wahaha) in Jiangsu Province. A company security guard demanded to take a picture of Li’s press card. When he refused, the guard suddenly yelled at him and splashed tea over the two journalists. An unknown person cried out “fake reporter” and several workers surrounded Li and pushed him onto the ground. Li’s head was injured by several kicks and punches.
China Youth Daily issued a statement the next day condemning the guard’s brutality. The secretary of Wahaha’s publicity department visited Li and police launched an investigation into the attack. Wahaha claims it is the largest beverage enterprise in China. In 2013, Wahaha said it ranked No. 179 among China top 500 enterprises and no. 83 among China top 500 manufacturers.
The IFJ Asia-Pacific Office said: “This is the second time a journalist has been attacked in the space of just four days while they were carrying out their duties. We are pleased to note that some Chinese scholars are proposing a Press Law should be enacted in order to protect the rights of journalists. Press freedom is a fundamental right enshrined in Chinese Constitution. The Government has a responsibility to defend and protect media personnel.”
We call on the Hangzhou Wahaha Group Co Ltd to apologise to Li Runwen and bear all his medical costs.
We urge the police to investigate the case and bring the suspect to justice. We also call on the Government to immediately implement a public education campaign to ensure the people of China respect press freedom and understand they have a duty to defend it.
On August 16, Ma Lingfeng of China Central Television (CCTV) was harassed, blocked and attacked by a staff member of the China Railway Construction Corporation.
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946
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