Finnish Broadcasting Co. correspondent Katri Makkonen and a colleague were blocked by authorities from filming petitioners in Fengtai, and then barred from filming in Tiananmen Square.
Authorities originally said the reporters were allowed to film the Fengtai petitioner area as long as they avoided the hutong next to the courthouse. But other police continued to block their camera. After the journalists left, police phoned their taxi driver to find out where they were headed next.
When they arrived in Tiananmen Square the journalists were approached by police who said they’d been instructed to look for the “Finnish journalists”. The journalists were told they are not allowed to film in Tiananmen Square, and were warned they could be threatened or harmed in the square. At both locations authorities repeatedly asked for their passports and press cards, and spent about 15 minutes taking down details.
“It was obvious that the police knew that they couldn’t detain us but still tried in every way to stop us from working. It was pretty amazing that they tracked down the cab driver and then even alerted the police on Tiananmen,” said Makkonen. The previous day her cameraman had been turned away from Fengtai because he was allegedly blocking traffic.