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Journalists attacked in Hong Kong and Mainland China

(IFJ/IFEX) - The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns attacks on journalists that took place in Hong Kong and Mainland China in February 2013.

A Foreign Correspondents' Club of China (FCCC) statement on 28 February stated that broadcaster ARD's correspondent Christine Adelhardt and four colleagues were attacked by unidentified thugs on February 27 after they finished filming at a village in Da Yan Ge Zhuang, Hebei province.

When the crew left the village, their car was followed by four vehicles. Their car was deliberately rammed and forced to a halt whereupon five or six people surrounded their vehicle and proceeded to smash the windscreen using baseball bats. Some of the attackers continued to attack the car despite two motorcycle policemen arriving on the scene.

A local resident told Adelhardt that he recognized one of the thug's vehicles as belonging to the village's Communist Party secretary.

When the attackers were detained in a police station, they claimed the news crew had "offended" them because they did not ask for permission to film.

A second incident occurred in Sheng Shui, Hong Kong on February 28. May Tse, a photographer with the South China Morning Post, was attacked by two suspected "parallel" traders after she took photos of them from a bridge. Tse was injured in the assault.

"One of them… slapped my face and hurt my right temple. They then yelled and pushed me… a few times. I cried out… that I'm a female photographer," Tse said. "This is unacceptable. They do whatever they like... It is a public area where people have the right to take photos."

Both the FCCC and the Hong Kong Photographer's Association have expressed anger at the incidents and have called for an investigation into the assaults.

"Sadly, such behaviour is not unusual in Mainland China and has occasionally happened in Hong Kong. Local government officials must understand the role of media. The media should be allowed to carry out its professional responsibilities in a public place without fear of harassment, intimidation or assault - particularly if the media is investigating suspicious activity," IFJ Asia-Pacific said.

The IFJ urges the Governor of Hebei, Zhang Qingwei, and Leung Chun-Ying, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, to send a clear message that there will be no tolerance of criminal acts against the media. The IFJ calls on them to implement an education campaign for government officials explaining the role of the media in the community.

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