Today, I met with several American and other foreign journalists based in China who, while reporting in downtown Beijing on Sunday afternoon, February 27, were illegally detained or harassed as they attempted to do their jobs. One reporter was severely beaten and detained for many hours. Several others were manhandled and also detained for varying lengths of time. Most of them had their cameras and video recorders confiscated and their pictures and videos erased.
This type of harassment and intimidation is unacceptable and deeply disturbing. I am disappointed that the Chinese public security authorities could not protect the safety and property of foreign journalists doing their jobs. I call on the Chinese Government to hold the perpetrators accountable for harassing and assaulting innocent individuals and ask that they respect the rights of foreign journalists to report in China. I also urge China to respect internationally recognized conventions that guarantee freedom of the press and freedom of expression.