Police detained four Scandinavian television correspondents for two hours after denying them an interview with blogger Zeng Jinyan about the detention of her husband, HIV/AIDS activist Hu Jia, in late December. The reporters represented three Scandinavian TV stations.
Police blocked the reporters from entering Zeng’s apartment building, then detained them because one of the team members, Jan Larsen of Denmark’s DR TV, was not carrying his passport. The police and the property owner demanded to see the journalists’ video recording to make sure the crew had not filmed inside the compound. The police threatened to confiscate the camera, and initially refused to return Larsen’s press card until he rolled his tape.
After Larsen phoned the Danish Embassy, police told him to write a confession for not carrying his passport, but dropped the demand that he show his footage. Another correspondent showed the property owner and authorities his footage to demonstrate he had not filmed inside the complex. After departing the police station, the journalists were able to talk with Zeng, who was in her fourth-floor apartment, by shouting to her from outside of the compound.
At the time of the incident, authorities were holding Hu Jia at an unknown detention center on suspicion of “incitement to subvert state power.”