Voice of America journalist, Yibing Feng, and media worker, Allen Ai were detained for six hours on Monday, August 13 in Jinan, Shandong province as they attempted to interview Sun Wenguang. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) strongly criticizes the detention of Yibing and Allen and calls on the Chinese Government to end the crackdown on free speech.
Sun Wenguang, 84, was forcibly detained during a television interview with VOA’s mandarin service in early August. Following the interview, Sun was detained by police at a military-run hotel in Jinan. On Monday, Feng and Ai went to Sun’s apartment to interview him about his arrest. They spoke to Sun through the closed door of his apartment. Police were in the apartment building and tried to stop the interview, and then detained the VOA staff.
Feng and Ai were detained separately, taken to different locations. Feng was held on the university campus and released early on Tuesday, August 14. In an email to his editors his said that his phone was destroyed during his detention. Ai was driven to the outskirts of town, before being released on early Tuesday. He said that his equipment was scanned and downloaded before he was released.
The IFJ said: “The crackdown of free speech in China is a blatant attempt to silence critical voices, and the government’s attempts to control information. It is outrageous that two journalists are detained and held, without charge, for simply doing their jobs. The Government in China is completely disregarding the role of the media, violating the Chinese Constitution.”