This news story has not been widely covered in the western press, but it is definitely worth a mention here. For those readers in Hong Kong, this has been a leading story in news bulletins in the territory for the last week.
Last Friday, three television journalists (a senior reporter and cameraman from TVB and a cameraman from now HK) were involved in a violent scuffle in Urumqi, Xinjiang whilst covering a protest rally. What has enraged Hong Kong was that these journalists allege that they were violently attacked by Chinese police.
Chinese authorities launched an investigation and in return allege that the journalists incited the protestors and in doing so turned the rally into a riot, as well as engaging in journalism without permission since they refused to show their work passes. The authorities deliberately omitted references to assault or force being used against the journalists, merely claiming that an incident occurred.
The affected Hong Kong television stations have vehemently denied all allegations against their staff and expressed frustration at China’s fabrication of facts and lack of evidentiary support. This incident has the potential to explode into a full blown political incident between the former British enclave and the motherland. The government has already called on the relevant authorities for further explanation.
沒有記者證就要打的嗎？ (Not having a journalist pass means you can be hit ?)
指手劃腳就是煽動嗎？ (Waving your hands is inciting?)
This instance police brutality and denial has really hit a nerve with the libertarian-conscious Hong Kong. It will be interesting to see how governmental escalation affects relations between the two states.