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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

China defends police action against journalists

The Chinese foreign ministry on Tuesday defended police action in detaining some journalists on Sunday saying they had not followed the necessary procedures for covering an incident at a major shopping street in Beijing last Sunday.
"The Beijing police properly handled the incident at Wangfujing," Foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said in the face of criticism voiced by foreign correspondents and envoys of United States and European Union over incidents of beating and detention of journalists. At least four journalists were pushed and kicked around at the Wang Fu Jiang shopping street on Sunday. They had gone there expecting protests by rebels who has been giving calls for demonstrations to create a Egyptian type 'Jasmine revolution' in China.
She asked a Bloomberg correspondent, who was severely hit in the face by unidentified plainclothes men, if he had obtained permission from the local administration managing the shopping area before doing interviews at the place.
Yu said there is no change in China's policy on press freedom, which was liberalized before the 2008 Olympic Games. But journalists should show respect and abide by rules and regulations in the country while carrying out their reporting duties.
"Some journalists did not follow relevant procedures,"she said while answering nearly 25 questions from foreign correspondents at the regular briefing in the ministry. Foreign journalists were "China protects foreign journalists' lawful rights within the law," she said. Her ministry hopes "journalists understand that it takes two sides -- both the government and the journalists -- to understand each other, and patiently handle the situation."
In a statement, Paris-based 'Reporters Without Borders' condemned the "thuggish attitude of the police officers who used force and violence against the journalists" in Beijing on Sunday.
Meanwhile, there has been some fresh postings on the Internet asking people to demonstrate next Sunday at the same places. Two such attempts to hold demonstrations by giving calls over the Internet have proved unsuccessful.

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