LOCATION: Shaoguan, Guangdong
TYPE OF INCIDENT: Police Harassment, intimidation of source
TOPIC: Xinjiang Unrest
NATIONALITY/ORGANIZATION: U.S. Print
“It appeared they knew it was the wrong thing to do because they drove away and left us alone. Later, the local waiban called to apologize, and make sure we were alright.”
DESCRIPTION: I went with a photographer to Shaoguan in Guangdong to report on the aftermath of the brawl at the toy factory linked to the violent riots in Xinjiang. The factory is about ten kilometers out of town. We were followed by a car full of what appeared to be plainclothes police. We were interviewing a Han Chinese youth in a small restaurant outside the camp where the Uighur workers were being held, when one of the plainclothes policemen walked over and sat down near us. As we wrapped up our interview he started asking the youth what he had told us. The youth appeared uncomfortable. We filmed the police questioning with a small video camera. When we were on our way back to Shaoguan, traffic police pulled our taxi over, and asked the driver to give him their keys. We overheard the police speaking on the radio saying “There are two foreign women in the car. Yes, it’s them.” They told us to wait, but wouldn’t tell us why we were being held. They tried to prevent us from walking away, and then started following us on foot. The police escort prevented us from hailing a cab. After about half an hour their backup arrived in a car. We called the local waiban, who offered to come and get us. The police officer said it was “inconvenient” to speak to the waiban, adding “we’ll speak to them at the police station.” We replied we’re not going to the police station.