China crisis

The Foreign Correspondents Club of China sends a letter to members today detailing the treatment dished out to three Swiss journalists and their Chinese assistants in two separate incidents while reporting from the Chinese sticks earlier this week. Swiss TV reporter Barbara Luethi relates the story of her interrogation at the hands of plain clothes cops in Baoding City last Tuesday,

They had been interviewing villagers at the site of a land dispute in 2005 that resulted in a pitched battle that claimed six lives. “I have been interrogated by police before, but this was on a whole different scale,” said Luethi. “It is the first time I have been physically beaten.”
She said six cars drove up containing 10-12 men,who claimed to be local villagers. She believes they were plain clothes police. Two of their cars did not have number plates. They were “quite brutal”, twisting her arm painfully, grabbing a camera and bags. In the struggle that followed Luethi fell to the ground. link

As Peking Duck adds – this isn’t the sorta thing the Chinese want bandied about in the run up to the Olympics. Especially after the song and dance they’ve made about free range reporting come the big event,

The Olympics are a stone’s throw away, and stories like this could turn what the government plans to be the most spectacular dog and pony show of all time into a global media roast of heavy-handed old-fashioned communist thuggery. Nine more months. Tick-tock, tick-tock…. link