Officials raid office of South Korean journalist

New York, September 3, 2002
—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) condemns the raid of the Beijing bureau of Chosun Ilbo, South Korea’s largest daily newspaper.

Just after midnight on September 1, seven police officers forcibly entered Yeo Shi-dong’s office, which is based in his family’s Beijing residence, according to a report by Yeo in Chosun Ilbo and several other articles in international publications. The officers questioned Yeo, searched his home and office, and confiscated documents including his passport, journalist identification card, and certificate of residency issued by the Chinese government.

Police accused Yeo of failing to properly notify the local police when he moved into the residence on June 18. According to his report, Yeo had notified the Foreign Ministry of his move, as required by Chinese law.

Yeo has written extensively about China’s stepped up efforts to prevent North Korean refugees seeking asylum in foreign countries by entering embassies in China. As part of the crackdown, officials have prevented journalists from reporting on the defection attempts, which have been occurring regularly since March. Authorities appear to have focused their efforts on South Korean journalists, who are especially active in reporting on the defections.

In June, security officials beat Lee Sang-min, a correspondent for South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency, who was reporting on Chinese guards’ forcible removal of a North Korean refugee who had entered the South Korean embassy in Beijing. And today, 15 North Korean citizens entered a school run by the German embassy in an apparent asylum bid. Police prevented foreign journalists from approaching the scene, according to a BBC report.