US envoy, EU delegation to China condemn attacks on journalists

Monday, February 28, 2011

BEIJING - The US ambassador and European Union delegation to China Monday condemned China’s failure to ensure the safety of foreign journalists, a day after a reporter was beaten and scores more harassed and detained.

Bloomberg Television reporter Stephen Engle was punched and kicked by at least five men in civilian clothes Monday as he was reporting on a “Jasmine revolution” gathering in Wangfujing, central Beijing.

Uniformed police arrived after the attack and escorted Engle to a nearby station, where he filed a report about the attack before seeking treatment for his injuries.

Many other foreign journalists were detained or harassed as they tried to report on the anti-government protest.

“This type of harassment and intimidation is unacceptable and deeply disturbing,” US Ambassador Jon Huntsman said.

“I call on the Chinese government to hold the perpetrators accountable for harassing and assaulting innocent individuals and ask that they respect the rights of foreign journalists to report in China.”

The EU delegation said it was troubled that foreign journalists were detained without explanation and physically intimidated or assaulted.

“We urge the Chinese authorities to respect the rights of foreign journalists to report freely in China according to the relevant laws and regulations, and also to ensure their physical safety while carrying out their work,” the delegation’s statement said.

“We call upon the Chinese authorities to fully investigate these cases and hold the perpetrators to account under Chinese law.”

The Foreign Correspondent’s Club of China also called on the government to “ensure the physical safety of all reporters and their staff while carrying out assignments in China”.

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