Monday, October 10, 2005

China - accusations of state beatings

The Guardian today led with a story which may set back China's image many years. Since the student protests of 1989 in Tiananmen Square, which were so savagely quelled by authorities, China has being attempting a face-lift both politically and culturally. But while western shops can be seen on the streets of Beijing and journalistic freedoms are being increased, others are still feeling the full might of the state on their shoulders. According to The Guardian, Lu Banglie, a pro-democracy activist, had been beaten and left for dead by "uniformed thugs" employed by the state. Foreign journalists travelling to Taishi have also been targeted. A French radio journalist and a Hong Kong print journalist were said to have been beaten. The Guardian correspondent, Benjamin Joff-Walt, his translator and Mr Lu set off for Taishi. But their path has blocked by more than 30 men who shouted at the taxi driver, "What the f*** are you doing here?" The taxi driver in turn uttered his displeasure to his passengers. "F*** all of you, look now you've gotten me into trouble" he said. Then Mr Lu was dragged from the car and beaten, for 10 minutes. He was left with an eye hanging from its socket, torn ligaments in his neck and blood streaming from his mouth. As Joff-Walt was then searched, and found to be a journalist, one man screamed, "You foreigners are ruining Taishi? You write so much about what's happened here the businesses have fled the new industrial zone". Then Mr Joff-Wolt and his translator were driven away for interrogation. Mr Lu has not been heard from since.
[17:57 GMT 10/10/2005]

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