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Police seize reporter's materials while covering protest

(IFJ/IFEX) - The following is a 15 July 2008 IFJ press release:

IFJ and HKJA Demand Return of Materials to Hong Kong Reporter

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate the Hong Kong Journalists' Association (HKJA) today demanded an apology from the security bureau of Xicheng, Beijing, and the prompt of return journalistic materials seized from a Hong Kong reporter on July 11.

Chen Yang, a reporter for Ming Pao, was reportedly intercepted by four police, including two in plain clothes, while taking photos of hundreds of disgruntled investors protesting over alleged embezzlement of 170 million Chinese yuan by the President of the China Commodity Spot Exchange, Guo Yuanfeng.

Kevin Lau, Beijing Bureau Chief for Ming Pao, told the IFJ the police confiscated Chen's camera and memory card without explanation while checking his press card on July 11. Chen reportedly complained to the police and asked for the materials to be returned.

Lau also complained to the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, and to central government representatives.

"This is unacceptable when we consider that it happened in the capital of China, Beijing, and during the Olympic Games period," Lau said.

The IFJ supports the HKJA's call for a "full and open explanation from the relevant authorities about this incident".

"Heavy-handed interference in a journalist's work is a direct attack on press freedom," said IFJ Asia-Pacific.

"China must ensure that journalists from Hong Kong and the rest of the world can report freely on matters of public importance without interference from government or security officials."

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 122 countries worldwide.

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