A police officer is seen in Beijing, China, on September 11, 2020. Police in Inner Mongolia recently detained and assaulted Los Angeles Times Beijing Bureau Chief Alice Su. (AFP/Nicolas Asfouri)

Chinese authorities detain, assault Los Angeles Times bureau chief, force her out of region

In early September 2020, police in Hohhot city, in China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, detained Los Angeles Times Beijing Bureau Chief Alice Su for more than four hours and released her without charge, according to an account in her newspaper and an Associated Press report.

Su wrote the account in the Los Angeles Times without explicitly stating that she was the reporter involved. The AP said it confirmed the journalist was Su. The Los Angeles Times and Su did not respond to CPJ’s emailed requests for comment.

Plainclothes officers surrounded Su at a school where she was reporting on tensions following a government move to remove Mongolian-language content from school curricula, and detained her despite Su identifying herself as an accredited journalist, according to those reports.

The officers took Su to a police station, where an officer grabbed her by the throat with both hands and shoved her into a cell, according to the Los Angeles Times. Police interrogated her and took away her belongings, and did not allow her to call the U.S. Embassy, according to that report.

After four hours, authorities released Su from the station, and one police officer and three government officials followed her to a local train station, where they forced her to return to Beijing, according to those reports.

The Los Angeles Times did not specify the extent of any injuries she received, or whether her property was returned. The report does not state the exact date these events occurred.

CPJ called the Hohhot Public Security Bureau for comment, but no one answered the call.

According to guidelines published by the Chinese Embassy in the United States, accredited foreign journalists have the right to freely report from areas that are open to foreigners, including Inner Mongolia, and can interview Chinese citizens with their consent.