Journalists protest Xinjiang violence

Hundreds of journalists protested in Hong Kong today over alleged police brutality.

The journalists held the rare demonstration against Chinese authorities, after paramilitary police beat the Hong Kong journalists covering protests in Urumqi.
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Hundreds of journalists protested in Hong Kong today over alleged police brutality towards three of their colleagues covering syringe attacks in China's restive Xinjiang region. Around 700 people, wearing black and holding placards, held a march to call on the Xinjiang government to apologise to the reporters and demanded Beijing move to stop media repression. On September 4, TVB reporter Lam Tsz-ho, his cameraman Lau Wing-chuen, and Now TV cameraman Lam Chun-wai were reportedly tied up, beaten and detained by police while covering protests in Urumqi that erupted after a spate of needle attacks in the city.

At a press conference a few days after the incident, Xinjiang government spokeswoman Hou Hanmin voiced regret but blamed journalists for inciting unrest. Mak Yin-ting, chairwoman of the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA), said media workers were angry over the "outrageous and blatantly false" allegations against the journalists. "This is a violent trampling on press freedom," she said. "It is not a single incident. Even last year, lots of our journalists were beaten while reporting in China. The situation is getting worse now."

The Foreign Correspondents' Club of Hong Kong, which co-organised the protest, said Beijing should conduct a full and impartial investigation into the affair and publish an uncensored report of its findings. "It is the first time the entire spectrum of the Hong Kong society, including senior government officials and National People's Congress delegates, have condemned such treatment of reporters," the club's president Tom Mitchell said. "I think, as a result, the Central Government will take notice."