Chinese Filmmaker Detained by Police

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns Beijing police for maliciously abusing their power and detaining a filmmaker using state security law. 

He Yang, an independent film maker, was detained by Beijing police for 20 hours on March 20 when he was traveling to interview Ding Zilin, a prominent figure in the Tiananmen Square Mothers group, a group of bereaved mothers who lost their children during the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989. He and his crew were accused of acting against state security. Police ransacked his apartment and took away belongings including two computers and equipment which contained films and images.


A journalist told the IFJ: “Police accused He of pretending to be a foreign journalist. He was a legitimate journalist because he was appointed by Deutsche Welle (DW), a German international broadcaster, to conduct the interview with Ding.”

“He did not say he was appointed by DW to police, his identity was disclosed because police had tapped Ding’s telephone when He had arranged the interview.” 

During the interrogation, police said that DW was “western anti-government media” and said Ding Zilin was an important and sensitive person who police had tightly monitored.

On March 21, he was released but was warned by police that he was not allowed to film again.

The IFJ said: “This is yet another example of police in China abusing their power and maliciously using state security laws to curb ordinary people exercising their rights to movement and press freedom notwithstanding the police’s violation on Ding Zilin’s right to privacy.

“Freedom of speech and freedom of movement are rights enshrined in the Chinese Constitution and also expressed in the National Human Rights Action Plan 2012-2015. As a member of UN Human Rights Council, Chinese authorities should move to ensure police stop infringing on the rights of Chinese journalists.”

The IFJ urges the Premier of China Li Keqiang and the Minister of Public Security Guo Shengkuna investigate the case and report to the public immediately.


For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0950

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries

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