Olympics-China Media Watch: Careful coverage of stabbing

Despite reports of censorship, several Chinese newspapers have reported on the stabbing death in Beijing on Saturday of a relative of the U.S. men’s volleyball coach. But most of the reporting has been limited to official statements. Emphasizing that the attacker acted alone, Beijing Youth Daily yesterday quoted Beijing Olympic Committee official Wang Wei in identifying the victim as the father-in-law of the U.S. coach. Early Chinese-language reports in Xinhua had simply called him a tourist.

Today, several news agencies are re-posting a brief from Huanqiu Shibao (Global Times), the Communist Party-controlled sister publication to People’s Daily. The article relays a statement from the victim’s family thanking China for its support.  

Caijing, which has been reporting aggressively on the recent attacks in west China, has also published several of its own articles on the case. Today’s report cites the family’s statement, with a few extra biographical details about the victim, Todd Bachman, from his company Bachman’s, Inc.

Australia’s daily newspaper The Age and other international news agencies reported that authorities confiscated Chinese reporters’ notebooks and a recording device at a press conference involving the U.S. men’s volleyball team. Beijing Olympic Committee spokesman Sun Weide denied that any such incident took place, but International Olympic Committee officials said they were investigating, according to international news reports.

Foreign journalists have reported their own problems with Chinese authorities. A police officer shoved and pointed an assault rifle at a reporter and photographer for The Associated Press today as they attempted to register at a police station in far-western Xinjiang province, the news agency reported.

AP was reporting on the stabbing of three guards at a government office in Xinjiang today, the latest in a rash of violent attacks in the region. Little news of the most recent attack has been reported in Chinese, and Caijing has gone uncharacteristically silent on the issue.

And in another apparent case of harassment late last week, reporters from the Brazilian TV news agency SBT received a visit at their apartment in Beijing from Chinese police, who asked to see their passports and told them to report to the station, according to this report by Brazilian news agency Folha Online. They refused.