Obey the law, top Sichuan official tells HK journalists

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 07 March, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 07 March, 2010, 12:00am

Hong Kong reporters can do 'meaningful reporting' only if they abide by the laws, a senior Sichuan official said yesterday when asked about the harassment of Hong Kong journalists covering the trial of quake activist Tan Zuoren last month. Sichuan vice-governor Wang Ning was apparently surprised when the question was put to him at a press conference.

An RTHK journalist said she was pushed around and her mobile phone was confiscated by Chengdu police when she was covering Tan's sentencing. Her phone was returned after she agreed to delete all photos.

Wang replied: 'A reporter should abide by the country's laws when they go to local areas to do interviews. Only under this prerequisite can reporting be meaningful.' He did not elaborate.

Tan, a Sichuan-based writer, was sentenced to five years in jail by the Chengdu Municipal Intermediate People's Court on February 9 for inciting subversion of state power. An independent investigation by Tan blamed shoddily constructed school buildings for the deaths of thousands of children in the 2008 earthquake.

A scuffle broke out between Hong Kong journalists and police as they waited outside the court for Tan's verdict. Some reporters were manhandled and suffered minor injuries.