En tysk korrespondent fra ARD og to kolleger samt to kinesiske assistenter forsøgte i går at filme i landsbyen Da Yan Ge Zhuang, der ligger tæt på Sanhe, som er 50 kilometer øst for Beijing.
Journalisterne arbejdede på en historie om urbanisering, der er en af den kinesiske regerings største politiske udfordringer, som også ofte medfører stridigheder om landrettigheder mellem lokale beboere og myndigheder.
Journalisterne blev forhindret i arbejdet og blev efter en biljagt på motorvejen overfaldet af to mænd, der angreb dem og deres bil med baseballkøller.
Det skriver Foreign Correspondents Club of China i en meddelse, hvor de blandt andet citerer ARDs korrespondent, Christine Adelhardt:
“We were filming the village square, where you could see old style farmers’ houses next to a newly-built mansion behind a wall and high-rise buildings in the background,” said Ms. Adelhardt, when a car drew up nearby them. The car’s driver began filming the TV crew.
When the crew left, two cars, later joined by at least two others, gave chase, trying to force the Germans’ minivan off the road and to deliberately cause a collision. They forced the ARD driver to stop at one point, whereupon five or six men surrounded the car, attempted to get in, and hammered on the windows with their fists.
The crew got away, but were pursued, forced off the road and onto the sidewalk, rammed, and made to stop. Two men from the pursuing vehicles attacked the minivan with baseball bats, shattering its windscreen, before the ARD driver was able to get away again by bulldozing his way past a car parked in front of the ARD van.
The crew then came across two motorcycle policemen, whom they asked for help. Their pursuers caught up with them, and again began smashing and punching holes in the car’s windscreen, despite the policemens’ attempts to control them.
A local resident who witnessed the scene later told Ms. Adelhardt that one of the cars involved in the pursuit belonged to the Da Yan Ge Zhuang village Communist party secretary.
Eventually police reinforcements arrived, and escorted the ARD crew to a local police station, where Ms. Adelhardt and her colleagues were questioned. Ms. Adelhardt saw a number of the men who had attacked her car at the police station, but was not sure whether they were detained.
When she asked to file a charge of attempted homicide, she was assured by a local official that such charges had already been laid against the men. But a policeman told her that the investigation had found that villagers had been “offended” by the TV crew’s presence and that they should have asked permission to film.