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Chinese journalist braves beating to protect sources

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has praised the bravery and integrity of a mainland Chinese journalist who was beaten for not revealing the sources in his investigative journalism work against a communist party official.

According to media reports, Man Da, a journalist working for Chutian Metropolis Daily, was attacked on May 18, 2014 while trying to investigate allegations against the head of the village committee in Hongshan district, Zhong Qibin. Man was investigating reports that Zhong Qibin may have breached Communist Party rules, as he intended to hold a birthday party for his ten-week-old son.

Man was reportedly detained and attacked by six men, who wanted him to disclose the source of the information that had led him to investigate Qibin. He was slapped, kicked and punched by the men for an hour, causing multiple injuries to his body as they sought to extract information from him.

One of the attackers was reported to have said to Man: "Don't dare think you can leave if you are not telling us who the informer is."

The IFJ said: "Considering the situation that he found himself in, Man's actions are to be applauded. For journalists to do their job, there are occasions where they need to use confidential sources and journalistic integrity must be maintained if the public is to have trust in the ethics and professionalism of journalists."

Following the attack, Hongshan District police detained the six men and they were each punished with 10 to 15 days of administrative detention.

In recent months there have been multiple reports of Chinese journalists being detained, disappeared, censored and attacked.

The IFJ and its affiliates firmly condemn authorities or individuals seeking to threaten journalists or media organisations into revealing their sources.

The IFJ said: "We welcome the swift actions of the Hongshan District Police, however we denounce the ongoing attitude towards journalists and the media in China and we urge the government to consider the implementation of a public education program that advocates for respect for the fourth estate and which calls for the end of violence against journalists in China."

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