Police stopped Belgian Public Broadcaster’s (VRT) correspondent, cameraman, assistant and Chinese driver at a roadblock on the way from Lanzhou to Xiahe in Gansu province.
Police told the reporting team to show their IDs and press cards and questioned them. The journalists were told they couldn’t travel further because there was a police operation going on, and they were being stopped for their own security.
When the correspondent showed the police and local foreign affairs officer the new foreign media reporting rules, he was told that the regulations weren’t valid due to the police operation. The police threatened the driver with arrest if he continued with
the crew. Correspondent Tom van de Weghe asked the police what would happen if he were to continue by foot.
“We will arrest you and put you on an airplane,” replied the police. The crew left the road block after about two hours, drove five hours and spent the night in Xining, Qinghai Province.
During the night the police called the Chinese driver many times to ask to which locations he had driven the team. The crew experienced problems sending the reports to Belgium because of restricted internet access.