China’s Investigative Reporters Face Harassment and Worse

The Los Angeles Times reports on the attack against Caijing reporter Fang Xuanchang and other threats faced by investigative journalists in China:

In a secretive and often paranoid culture where muckrakers are viewed as dangerous busybodies, Fang has been harassed by authorities and threatened with lawsuits and jail time. These days he considers himself lucky to be alive.

In June, as Fang was arriving home from work, he was set upon by two well-built men wielding lead pipes. It was a professional job, he says. They ambushed him from behind in a shadowy area near his apartment complex, a spot unseen by surveillance cameras.

The assailants worked efficiently, silently flailing away at his head and upper body, unconcerned by bystanders.

“They tried to kill me,” said Fang, an editor at Caijing magazine.

Fang, a slight but physically fit 37-year-old who knows martial arts, fought his way into a taxi, his clothes soaked with, blood. His attackers vanished.

Police have yet to make any arrests, but Fang thinks the men must have been hired by one of the doctors exposed by his stories.