6 Are Held in Attack on Chinese Investigative Journalist

The New York Times reports on one of the most brutal attacks on a journalist in China in recent history. Six men have been detained for beating the journalist, who is now brain dead in a hospital in Xinjiang:

The injured man, Sun Hongjie, was based in the remote town of Kuitin for the Beijiang Morning Post, known in English as the Northern Xinjiang Morning Post. He was attacked late Friday night and has been in a coma since, according to the employee and reports on Tuesday in Beijing News and Xinhua, the state news agency.

The report in Beijing News said the six suspects were detained 40 hours after the beating. Citing police officials, the report said a man named Mr. Liu was among the attackers and hit Mr. Sun twice in the head with clods of earth. The report also said the attackers destroyed Mr. Sun’s cellphone.

Mr. Sun has a reputation in the western region of Xinjiang as a crusading journalist who sought to expose corruption and wrongdoing. His newspaper, based in the regional capital of Urumqi, began publishing in its current incarnation in January and is seen as a relatively independent voice that operates without any significant government revenue.