Wednesday, March 13, 2013

China: Two journalists beaten in Beijing while filming outside of Liu Xia's home


Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ/IFEX) - The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns Friday's attack in Beijing on two Hong Kong journalists outside the home of Liu Xia, the wife of jailed Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo.

On 8 March 2013, a group of unidentified men beat TVB cameraman Tam Wing-man and Now TV cameraman Wong Kim-fai as they were filming an activist's attempt to visit Liu Xia, who is under house arrest at her apartment building, according to local reports. The attackers, who did not identify themselves, suddenly appeared from around a corner, shouted at the group of journalists outside the building, and demanded that they stop filming, local reports said. One of the Hong Kong cameramen was punched in the face and pushed to the ground, while the attackers attempted to confiscate the other's camera and hit him in the head, reports said.

"China's new leadership must send a message that they will not tolerate this criminal behavior," said Bob Dietz, CPJ's Asia program coordinator. "Prosecuting thugs who use violence to suppress the free flow of information would demonstrate the government's commitment to the rule of law."

A spokesman for the Hong Kong government expressed serious concern over the incident, and said the right to report on the mainland must be respected, media reports said.

Liu Xia has been under house arrest since her husband, Liu Xiaobo - who is serving an 11-year prison sentence on subversion charges after calling for reforms - won the Nobel Peace Prize in October 2010. China reacted to Liu Xiaobo's award by placing a media blackout on domestic and foreign media coverage of the Norwegian Nobel Committee's announcement, as well as censoring coverage of the award ceremony.