Chinese police harass and briefly detain VOA journalist

Taipei, August 22, 2017–Chinese authorities should launch a credible, independent investigation into allegations that local police harassed and briefly detained a journalist in the northern city of Tianjin last week, the Committee to Protect Journalist said today.

Police on August 14 obstructed and detained Voice of America (VOA) reporter Ye Bing while he was attempting to cover the closed trial of human rights activist Wu Gan from outside of the Tianjin No.1 Intermediate People’s Court, according to VOA, a U.S. government-funded broadcaster.

Ye tweeted that plainclothes police officers surrounded him and his assistant and held their arms for about 20 minutes to prevent the pair from taking photographs. Police then accused Ye of inciting violence outside of the court and took him into custody at the Tianjin Tucheng police station where they forced the journalist to delete his photographs.

“Police in China need to stop harassing and blocking journalists who are merely doing their jobs,” said Steven Butler, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator.

Ye’s phone, laptop, and other belongings were also confiscated, according to VOA. Ye said on Twitter that he and his assistant were released four hours after they were detained, and the journalists were returned their equipment.

The Tianjin police chief said there would be no criminal charges against the reporter and his assistant, according to a VOA article that quoted Ye.

When contacted, the police in Tianjin told CPJ they would not respond to a telephone inquiry.