Last Friday (Sep 4), three Hong Kong journalists were beaten up and detained by Xinjiang armed polices when they were covering the protest in Urumqi. Yesterday, the authorities in Xinjiang claimed that the three journalists were under the suspicion of inciting public disorder by making hand gestures. The director of the Xinjiang Autonomous Regional Information Office, Hou Hanmin, claimed that two of the journalists had not been authorized to report in the city and described the brutal act of the polices as an “unfortunate incident”.
This is not an isolated incident. Back in August, two reporters from Now TV were accused of possessing drug in their hotel rooms when they were reporting the trial of citizen rights activist Tan Zouren in Sichuan. On Sep 6, again 5 Hong Kong reporters were detained in Urumqi. All these incidents are threats to journalists’ personal security and the freedom of speech and press in Hong Kong. The Xinjiang government’s statement, accusing journalists of inciting public disorder, has further outraged the public and many expressed their anger in blogs and online media.