Diplomats Slam China Harassment of Journalists

Ambassador Jon Huntsman, who made a cameo appearance at the first Jasmine protests in Beijing, has condemned Chinese authorities’ treatment of foreign journalists over the weekend:

U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman said in a statement that he had met on Monday with foreign reporters who had been harassed, and called such intimidation “unacceptable and deeply disturbing.”

“I am disappointed that the Chinese public security authorities could not protect the safety and property of foreign journalists doing their jobs,” Huntsman said.

In a similar statement, the European Union’s delegation in China urged authorities to respect the right of foreign journalists to report freely.

It was the second Sunday in a row that China deployed large numbers of police to squelch overt protests modeled on recent democratic movements in the Middle East. This time, police near Shanghai’s People’s Square also blew shrill whistles nonstop to keep people moving, while street cleaning trucks in Beijing drove repeatedly up the Wangfujing shopping street, spraying water to keep crowds pressed to the edges.

Authorities had called foreign reporters in Beijing and Shanghai on Friday and over the weekend, indirectly warning them to stay away from protest sites. Pressure to tamp down protest is higher in Beijing. Senior politicians from around the country converge on the capital this week for the legislature’s annual session and a simultaneous meeting of a top advisory body — events that always bring high security.

See a previous report from CDT about mistreatment of journalists reporting on the Jasmine protests.