A journalist with the British newspaper, The Guardian, was beaten and had his mobile phone smashed last night during an attempt to visit the village of Taishi in Guangdong Province, the scene of an acrimonious dispute over a lucrative land deal. According to information received by Interfax, a Chinese citizen was killed in the incident.
Benjamin Joffe-Walt, the newspaper’s Shanghai correspondent, was warned by residents of neighboring villages that journalists and outsiders visiting Taishi were being beaten by thugs connected to the local police. However, he proceeded to Taishi by car.
In a separate incident, reporters with French Radio and the South China Morning Post were also severely beaten after trying to visit Taishi, which is situated in the Panyu district of the Guangdong provincial capital, Guangzhou.
UPDATE: Joffe-Wait has written his first-person account in The Guardian. Jonathan Watts of The Guardian has also reported on the incident. See also “China activist beaten, missing -activists say” from Reuters. Simon World has compiled additional news reports and blog links about events in Taishi, and ESWN has posted a detailed chronology of events. According to a notice from Ai Xiaoming on InMediaHK (via ESWN), “Lu Banglie has been sent back to this home in Hubei. He is alive, but his exact condition is not known.”
UPDATE 2: Voice of America Mandarin Service interviewed Lu this morning, from his home in Hubei, about the attack.