China’s Foreign Minister Says Police Did Not Beat Foreign Reporters at Protest Areas

Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi has denied that police beat foreign reporters reporting from the designated locations of Jasmine Revolution protests, despite numerous reports in the foreign media of such attacks:

On Feb. 27 at least one reporter was attacked by unidentified men while trying to report from a Beijing shopping street, and others had their equipment confiscated and footage erased by police.

“There is no such issue as Chinese police officers beating foreign journalists,” Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said at a news conference during China’s annual legislative session.

Yang said there were no signs of tension in Beijing.

“We don’t want to see anyone make something out of thin air,” he said.

Restrictions on reporting by foreign journalists have been tightened in Beijing, with journalists required to obtain government permission before any newsgathering in the city centre. The tightening of policy comes after the Internet calls for popular protests each Sunday similar to those that have toppled authoritarian leaders in Egypt and Tunisia and continue to roil North Africa and the Middle East.

See also a statement from the Committee to Protect Journalists in response to Yang’s comments.