China Reporters Probing Bridge Disaster “Beaten” – Chris Buckley

R-1 Reuters reports that Chinese journalists covering a recent bridge collapse in were beaten by “local thugs.” Another report (in Chinese) on overseas news website revealed that those “thugs” are local Director of Agriculture Bureau and his staff. From Reuters:

Chinese journalists probing a bridge collapse that killed dozens of people said they were harassed and beaten by local thugs, exposing the state-run media’s see-saw struggle between control and candor.

The reporters were interviewing grieving families of those who died when the near-finished , in the southern province of Hunan, fell into a heap of rubble. By late on Thursday, the number of known dead had reached 41 and was sure to rise as searchers accounted for dozens missing.

State television has trumpeted President Hu Jintao’s call for an inquiry into the accident and punishment of anyone culpable. But according to an Internet account backed by reporters involved, media seeking answers found they were far from welcome. [Full Text]

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