Mr Stephen Lam
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs
Main and East Wing
Central Government Offices
Dear Mr Lam,
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong, condemns the attack upon Hong Kong journalists in Beijing on Friday by some 30 people said to be neighbors of jailed activist Zhao Lianhai. We also express our extreme displeasure that police officers present at the scene made no effort to halt the violence until after the reporters called for help, and then did nothing except to register the reporters’ identities.
The journalists were outside Mr Zhao’s residence following reports that Mr Zhao, who has been imprisoned for his work aiding families of children poisoned by melamine-tainted milk, would be released on medical parole. They suddenly found themselves set upon by the crowd, who struck and kicked them, and attempted to block their cameras. At least one female reporter for RTHK was slapped with considerable force. Such behavior is shameful, and a most regrettable way to mark International Human Rights Day.
This is not the first time that Hong Kong reporters, acting in the line of duty, have been the target of physical assaults on the mainland. Such acts are totally unacceptable and we call on the Hong Kong Government to inform the relevant mainland officials, in strong terms, that such attacks cannot be tolerated and that police have a responsibility to protect journalists and uphold the rights guaranteed in China’s constitution.
Anna Healy Fenton, President
Francis Moriarty, 2nd Vice-President
Chairman, Press Freedom Committee