Swiss TV correspondent Barbara Luthi and her cameraman and local assistant were roughed up and detained for seven hours in Shengyou Village, Dingzhou County, Hebei Province. One of their tapes was erased by the authorities. The Swiss TV team had been interviewing villagers at the site of a land dispute that in 2005 resulted in a pitched battle that claimed six lives.
“I have been interrogated by police before, but this was on a whole different scale,” said Luthi. “It is the first time I have been physically beaten.” She said six cars drove up containing ten to 12 men, who claimed to be local villagers. She believes they were plainclothes police. Two of the cars did not have number plates. She says the men were “quite brutal.” They twisted her arm, and grabbed a camera and bags. In the struggle, Luthi fell to the ground.
The issue was eventually resolved when the plainclothes men called the local foreign affairs bureau.