Foreign journalist and crew attacked and harassed in Beijing, China

Footage of the men blocking access to the candidates house. Credit: BBC

The International Federation of Journalists condemns the attack on a BBC journalist and crew in Beijing. The IFJ demands an immediate investigation into the attack. On November 17, John Sudworth, a BBC journalist and his crew, were trying to interview an independent candidate for the upcoming elections in Beijing. When the crew arrived at the candidates house, they were immediately confronted by six men, who blocked the crews access to the house. Sudworth was eventually able to access the house and knocked on the front door. However when the candidate answered the door, the men pushed the door shut and stopped the candidate from speaking, or let the crew inside. The candidate then opened a window and tried to talk to Sudworth and the crew, however the men immediately blocked the window and forced it shut. During the altercation, other people arrived, some wearing masks. They started manhandling Sudworth and the crew, blocking the camera and pushing them. Sudworth told the IFJ that he and his team has received a few bumps and knocks, which were maybe a bit heavier than usual but sadly not unprecedented. John Sudworth said that this was not the first time he has experienced attacks like this, referring to a similar incident in another area when they tried to interview another independent candidate for the Beijing elections. On that occasion, the group were blocked by a police officer, who was waiting for them when they arrived for the interview. China is beginning to organize the elections for the next five-year terms. During the elections more than 900 million voters will cast their ballots to elect their local delegates. Anyone can run for election if they are able to collect enough nominees for support, however it is extremely difficult. In previous elections, independent candidates have been detained or forced into exile. The IFJ Asia Pacific Office said: “Journalists should never be attacked or threatened for doing their job. The attempts by these people and local authorities to block the media exercising their duties are a press freedom violation.” We urge the United Nation to note down those incidents and demanded the Chinese delegate to explain. 

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946 

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

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