Script: Listening Plus - The incidents in Xinjiang

Script: Listening Plus - The incidents in Xinjiang

November 26, 2009
November 20, 2009
November 20, 2009
November 19, 2009
November 19, 2009
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TIM: Hi. This is listening plus. You’re with Timothy Chui and today I’ll be speaking with political reporter Eva Wu on local journalists reporting on the mainland. Thanks for joining us. First off, what are the latest developments?

EVA: I think, as many of you may know, some700 Hong Kong journalists staged a protest last Sunday and we condemn Xinjiang government’s handling of the case and their accusation against local journalists and we also hope Beijing will step into the controversy.

TIM: Can you talk about some of the recent incidents?

EVA: I think there are two incidents which sparked wide concerns these days. The first one was earlier this month. There’s three journalists they were covering the riot protests in Urumqi and they were handcuffed, tied up, beaten by Urumqi police and they were also detained and were released later. But they were kept for a few hours and than two days after that, another five Hong Kong journalists were again detained by police. But this time they were not beaten, they were not handcuffed. They just detained them. I mean the police detained them for a few hours and send them back to the hotel. I think it’s mostly because of these two incidents that sparked wide concern in the city. Actually in August, two NOW TV journalists, they were searched because the Chungdu police think that they were taking drugs and this are all fake accusations against Hong Kong journalists.

TIM: The two reporters from NOW TV, what were they trying to work on?

EVA: They were covering a court case of a human rights activist in Chengdu.

TIM: What has been Xinjiang’s and the Central Government’s reaction?

EVA: Last week, Xinjiang government released a so-called full investigation into the row and they accuse Hong Kong journalists for inciting protestors and also accused Hong Kong journalists for making irresponsible remarks in the event and while for the Central Government declined to comment on the case when they were asked by Hong Kong journalists.

TIM: How has the Hong Kong government reacted?

EVA: As I remember, Donald Tsang came out and expressed his deepest concerns on the row and he said he had reflected Hong Kong people’s views on the controversy to Beijing and the Xinjiang government, but actually we don’t have any positive or anymore response from Xinjiang government after last week’s release of the investigation.

TIM: Is there a particular case within the last few years that highlighted press freedom for local reporters working on the mainland?

EVA: I remember Hong Kong journalists covering Sichuan earthquake last year. I heard from many of them, when they were back from Sichuan, they all said they enjoyed press freedom at that time because no police or authorities were stopping them from covering the stories of the earthquake and people are expecting, mainly because of the Sichuan earthquake and later on Olympics and years to come, there would be big improvement for Hong Kong journalists working on the mainland. That there would be big improvements in press freedoms but unfortunately its not correct as what we’ve seen in recent incidents.

TIM: So overall, how would you say reporters in china are treated, and are there any differences for foreign and Hong Kong reporters?

EVA: I know some people are suggesting mainland authorities are targeting Hong Kong journalists, but what we’ve seen, like last month, again in the Xinjiang riots, there are also some foreign reporters who were detained and beaten so I don’t think the case is they just target Hong Kong journalists. What I heard from some of my friends in Beijing, they said even though you have a valid press card, it doesn’t mean anything at all, because still you will be searched, they’ll ask you questions, stop you from interviewing people on the streets, so this is how Hong Kong journalists are treated on the mainland.

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