It is no secret that China is not very open to the outside world. The Communist Party in China made it even more difficult for journalists and the press to access the country.
A group of BBC reporters was attacked by a mob and was later forced to sign a confession for attempting an “illegal interview” in China.
BBC correspondent, John Sudworth, narrated the horrific act in an online article saying that it was an attempt to cover the efforts of a woman to convince the Communist Party to right local governance malfeasance.
John, and other press members, were trying to reach a woman named Yang Linghua in Xinhua county in Hunan province. On the way to Yang’s village, the crew was attacked by a mob who smashed their cameras and assaulted the journalists. The crew had approached Yang to narrate her side of the story as she claims that her father was killed in a land dispute.
As soon as we arrived in Yang Linghua’s village it was clear they were expecting us. The road to her house was blocked by a large group of people and, within a few minutes, they’d assaulted us and smashed all of our cameras. Later, police and local government officials forced them to delete video footage “under the threat of further violence” and sign a confession apologising for “behavior causing a bad impact.
John further mentioned that there was another motive behind this attack. The assaulters wanted to stop the crew from covering Yang’s story as they believed it could affect the Communist Party’s annual meeting in Beijing negatively. The video of the incident showed a violent tussle between the mob and the correspondents with one of the members receiving minor cuts.
The Foreign Correspondent’s Club of China has condemned the attack and said:
This violent effort to deter news coverage is a gross violation of Chinese government rules governing foreign correspondents, which expressly permit them to interview anybody who consents to be interviewed.
According to the 2016 survey of FCCC, 57 percent of correspondents have been subjected to some sort of harassment or interference while attempting to report in China. This clearly shows the level of freedom of the press in the Dragon’s land and the rights of the Chinese to appeal against the malpractices in the society.