Beijing police ‘edited’ video to mislead public over Hong Kong reporter’s arrest, journalist association says
Group also slams city’s officials and chief executive for ‘going easy’ on mainland Chinese authorities over the controversial incident involving Now TV journalist Chui Chun-ming on Wednesday
Beijing police misled the public by using “edited” footage to accuse a Hong Kong reporter of resisting officers and inappropriately trying to grab his press cards back, a group representing local journalists said on Saturday.
The Hong Kong Journalists Association slammed mainland Chinese authorities over the incident involving Now TV journalist Chui Chun-ming, who was on Wednesday handcuffed and dragged into a police van while bleeding, then detained for four hours.
The association also accused Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and other top officials for “going easy” on Beijing police, who arrested Chui while he was covering a Beijing Lawyers Association hearing involving human rights lawyer Xie Yanyi.
The incident came four days after i-Cable News journalist Chan Ho-fai was kicked and beaten by two men in China’s southwestern Sichuan province while reporting on the 10th anniversary of a deadly earthquake.
In a statement released on Saturday, the association said the reactions from Lam and her ministers had been “regrettable”.
“Calling for reporters to comply with local regulations and at the same time going easy on aggressors, is to put the cart before the horse,” the statement read.
The remarks followed comments by Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah on Friday in which she said “it was hard to understand” why the “strange” incident concerning Chui had occurred.
“I hope the journalist can calm down, his wounds will recover,” she said.
When asked why the Hong Kong government did not condemn the act, Lam said on Wednesday that she did not want the public to “adopt an antagonising attitude”.
Patrick Nip Tak-kuen, the city’s mainland affairs chief, also declined to say on Wednesday whether the act had been violent.
The association said in its statement the city’s officials had been trying to “muddle through” the incident, adding that journalists’ rights to bodily safety and to report news should be protected.
A 46-second video of the incident was released by the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau on Friday, showing Chui trying to grab his press cards from police.
The video also showed events in the lead-up to the arrest, in which Chui could be seen asking for his cards back and telling officers he had cooperated.
Beijing police release Hong Kong journalist after he was detained covering hearing of human rights lawyer Xie Yanyi
According to the association, the bureau had edited the footage to remove the subsequent “violent acts” committed by the officers.
“The association is dissatisfied with the authorities’ reactions and strongly protest against it,” the statement read.
The bureau said Chui had “admitted to wrong behaviour”, referring to a statement of repentance he had signed, but the association said the signing was coerced.
It also urged mainland authorities to pursue the legal responsibility of Beijing police and take measures to prevent similar incidents from happening again.
Now TV footage showed Chui being held down by at least five officers as he was bleeding from his forehead. The station claimed their version was unedited.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong political party Professionals Guild launched an online petition on Saturday urging Lam to condemn the Beijing police’s treatment of Chui.
The group said he was “beaten like a criminal” with brutality that was rarely encountered.