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Belgian TV journalist and his crew assaulted while reporting on AIDS

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders has voiced dismay after Belgian journalist, Tom Van de Weghe, and his team from Flemish public television VRT were attacked and robbed by men recruited by the authorities in Henan province, central China as they reported on AIDS in China.

The TV team were due to meet on 27 November 2008 with several NGOs who look after Aids patients. Police and local authorities, who were apparently tipped off about the interviews, banned those working for the organisations from talking to the journalist, a VRT spokesperson said.

Around a dozen men then stopped them while on route to a village and demanded they hand over the interview tapes. The assailants beat the film crew and also snatched money, microphones and batteries.

The day after the attack, the management of VRT sent a letter to the Chinese ambassador in Brussels condemning the incident. The channel called for an apology from the Chinese authorities and payment of compensation for the damaged equipment and sought guarantees that their accredited correspondent could work in China without interference.

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