Sunday, October 09, 2005

Local beating of Chinese farmer & foreign journalists

Benjamin Joffe-Walt of The Guardian is honest in his report. He should have known better but he does not. Every foreign reporter intended to go to the countryside for such an investigation should have read the book, A Survey of Chinese Peasants, by Chen Guidi and Chuntao.


simin said...

this is a related article in straittimes, providing you with some background information. forced and illegal land acquisitions by the corrupt local government in China's countryside are rampant and a major source of rural social discontent.

Oct 10, 2005
Lawmaker missing after village attack
BEIJING - A CHINESE legislator is missing after he and a foreign journalist were attacked at a village in southern China that is at the centre of a bitter land dispute.

Mr Lu Banglie, a local People's Congress delegate from Zhijiang in Hubei province, was badly beaten on Saturday as he tried to enter Taishi village in Guangdong province, according to the Beijing-based correspondent for Britain's Guardian newspaper, Mr Jonathan Watts.

'We are extremely concerned about Lu Banglie, we do not know where he is, he was extremely badly beaten, possibly killed,' he said.

Guardian reporter Benjamin Josse-Walt, who was with Mr Lu, was threatened by guards and thugs in Taishi before being taken to a neighbouring township and warned not to meddle in the dispute.

Mr Lu was unconscious but still being kicked by his attackers when the journalist was taken away, Mr Watts said.

The lawmaker is among a growing number of rights activists and lawyers who have tried to educate Taishi farmers in their battle to legally remove village head Chen Jinsheng, whom locals accuse of corrupt land practices. \-- AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

simin said...

three links here which provide comprehensive coverage of this event:

simin said...

Activist found alive after beating by mob,7369,1589186,00.html

Mr X said...

Has the Chinese government responded to this at all? Does anyone know of the internal reaction, if any?

If someone can be bothered to reply to would be nice if you could post it on my own blog.

Dr. Wenran Jiang said...

Derrick, here is a report but I don't have the weblink for it:

Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Press slammed for coverage of Taishi

Beijing yesterday criticised foreign journalists for covering an ugly
battle over village democracy in Taishi, Guangdong province, where
residents have been intimidated and a legislator badly beaten.

"We express regret over these journalists repeatedly breaching relevant
rules to carry out such reporting activities," spokesman Kong Quan said
when asked to comment on the roughing up of reporters in recent weeks.

"Some media are always criticising China for the lack of laws, but where
there are laws, they lead the way in not abiding by them," he said.

The Taishi case has attracted widespread attention and is seen as a test
of the central government's determination to fully implement laws on
village democracy.

Mr Kong said investigations showed local police had done nothing wrong.

"If there was any wrongful behaviour, that would have absolutely not
[been] allowed ...but as for the police, there was no wrongful behaviour,"
Mr Kong said.

Last Friday, reporters from the South China Morning Post and Radio France
Internationale were beaten when they attempted to enter the village, where
a bitter battle to oust its village head for alleged embezzlement of funds
ended in failure.

On Saturday, Zhijiang People's Congress delegate Lu Banglie was badly
beaten up when he accompanied a journalist from British newspaper The
Guardian to the area.

Villagers, who were previously outspoken, said they had been ordered by
authorities to withdraw their request and not speak up.

They said hired thugs - believed to be connected with the authorities -
were guarding the entrances to Taishi to bar outsiders from entering.

Douglas Crossman said...

I am utterly amazed at slowly journalists learn. Actually, I’m amazed how slowly foreigners in China in general learn. While I was attending Qinghua in the spring, there was a lot of coverage by CNN, and the Globe and Mail (I don’t know about the BBC because it was blocked) about the rising AIDS rates in China, especially in the Henan province. I came across one particularly interesting article that wasn’t discussing the AIDS/HIV rates, but rather it talked about the amount of abuse that the foreign AIDS workers faced. Those foreigners who were protesting the governments approach to the AIDS situation seemed to have the majority of complaints, many of whom were threatened, held without charges, or beaten. This I honestly just assumed that they would expect this kind of treatment, as you do not go into a sovereign nation, especially China, and make a public case about how you think their methods are wrong. What was more interesting was that even the medical staff was being assaulted. Regardless of all the reports coming out of China via the foreign press about this kind of treatment, and the growing epidemic that, until just recently, was completely covered up by the government, China has held the position that it is the foreigners fault for being there. Most of the reports regarding these kinds of incidents in China show the government as this kind of protecting figure that will let no harm come to others, and it is the fault the victims for getting beaten up…by the mobs who have been hired by the government.

While I understand the beating of the foreign-press, I am concerned about the repression of the medical staff throughout China. These kinds of actions remind me of Mr.Mao’s refusal to accept foreign aid when his people were starving from his failed 5 year plans and the Great Leap. I don’t think this incident has as much to do with China being suspicious of the West as much as it is a concern about “face”, the be all and end all of Chinese relations. If the fear of tarnishing your “face” in the international spotlight by admitting to this problem is more important than the realization that something must be done to solve it, then Chinese authorities need to reevaluate their principles.