Journalists' group calls on China to curb 'intimidation'

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 September, 2012, 6:57pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 August, 2013, 4:13am

The Hong Kong Journalists’ Association has called on the central government’s liaison office to step in to curb cases of assault and intimidation by regional authorities on reporters from the city working on the mainland.

The demand was laid out in a letter submitted by a dozen representatives of the local media to the liaison office’s headquarters in Sheung Wan on Sunday.

Addressed to the office’s director, Peng Qinghua, the letter described as “unreasonable” and “intolerable” the interference of local-level officials and security officers with the work of Hong Kong journalists on the mainland.

Bruce Lui Ping-kuen, a visiting lecturer at Baptist University who spent years working as part of Cable TV’s reporting team on the mainland, said Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying also had an obligation to ask the mainland for assistance on the matter, given “his influential ties to Beijing”.

Lui added that local authorities on the mainland had in recent years “stepped up” their interference with the work of Hong Kong journalists.

“Our Whatsapp [smartphone app] messages with intended interviewees were intercepted by police,” Lui recalled. “When we arrived at the scene, teams of officers were already there.”

The protest came a week after South China Morning Post photographer Felix Wong Chi-keung was beaten up by police when covering a large anti-Japanese protest in Shenzhen. Wong remained on sick leave on Sunday.

The assault followed the detention of two Ming Pao Daily reporters by Hunan authorities for 44 hours earlier this month when they travelled to interview relatives of the Tiananmen Square democracy activist Li Wangyang, whose death by hanging in June was ruled to be suicide by officials. The official explanation was met with scepticism in Hong Kong.

Former journalist and newly-elected lawmaker Claudia Mo Man-ching says she will move a Legislative Council motion to condemn Peng or Leung if they fail to take appropriate action when the new Legislative Council meets for the first time on October 10.