Plainclothes officials intimidated sources while two Scandinavian journalists attempted to interview peach farmers in Sanhe Town, Hebei Province about how Olympics transport regulations are hurting their livelihood.
Beijing-based Sami Sillanpaa of Helsingin Sanomat and Philip Lote, a visiting colleague from Norwegian television NRK, were interviewing farmers when three carloads of people arrived and refused to identify themselves. Sillanpaa, who said the men were in constant telephone contact with someone to relay information about the journalists, said the officials just happened to show up and wanted to watch what was going on. “They ruined our interview,” said Sillanpaa. “After they arrived (the farmers) were not so willing to talk anymore.”
The pair then left the area and were followed by the unidentified officials who had disrupted their interview. The officials left off when the journalists crossed the provincial border en route to Beijing.