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Foreign Reporters Beaten Up in Taishi

What Benjamin Said, a report from Guardian

Update (Oct. 10th, 8pm, NY Time): Finally, RFA interviewed Mr. Lv (or Lu) on phone. According to the interview (audio in link below), Mr. Lv lost consciousness in the beating. When he regained his consciousness, he was on the car and in Hubei Province. He said he was awaked when someone poured cold water on his head. He felt much headache.

According to Mr. Lv, the attack happened when their car was not far away from the village office. Their car was stopped and was not allowed to move. He was pulled out and beaten by a group of gangsters. The police was not far from where he was beaten.

Interview Audio from RFA (in Chinese)

Update (Oct. 10th, 2pm, NY Time): BBC and VOA said that Mr. Lv Banglie is alive and was sent back to his home in Hubei by police. VOA contacted Mr. Lv Banglie (or Lu Banglie)'s sister, she said that Mr. Lv is safe and was not injured seriously. The official of Guangdong news department said "there was no body beaten up on that day". None of the above news groups has reached Mr. Lv himself.

Some Boxun "readers" critized the false information given by Boxun, at the same time, they also said that "reporters can visit Taishi freely", and denied the beating incidence. In China's situation, when no media can send reporters to that area and all reporters have been attacked, Boxun has its limitation to the truth. But if officials deny the "beating incidence", then it is a lie. Boxun may make mistakes while trying our best to tell the truth because of the media restriction and censorship in China, but Boxun does not lie. The liars are those who know the truth and try to hide the truth by telling lie and attacking/arresting journalists.

Update (Oct. 9th, 11am, NY Time): According to Benjamin, they were attacked by about 30 people. He and his assistant were separated from Mr. Lv Bangtai, the gangsters beat Mr. Lv to unconscious. The gansters forced Banjammin to the Town Hall while left Mr. Lv behind on the road. Witness tried to check Mr. Lv but was not allowed.

The information is disturbing. Villagers said the government started to order them to say "Lv is dead in car accident". Benjamin also thinks Lv is dead. Journalist from same newspaper of Benjamin (Wei Bao) called the police of that town, plice said Lv has been released.

Update (Oct. 8th, PM, NY time): RFA reporter inteviewed people who know Benjamin, it said Benjamin is safe and was not hurt. But Lv Banglie was injured seriously and hospitalized. Mr. Lv is a people's representative of Hubei Province, and he accompanied Benjamin to visit Tashi Village last night. Boxun's previous news release was based on the telephone message from villagers. The witness might not be able to see clearly whom was beaten in darkness.

The truth will be told by Benjamin.

***(following contents have been re-written for better English by G.F.)

Boxun just released an urgent news bulletin at 10:20am Oct. 8th, NY Time: Benjamin, a reporter from the UK, is being attacked, and beaten up. Witness said he will be beaten to death if not rescued.

UK's Embassy to China has been alerted, and has started rescue efforts.

Many journalists have been attacked in the past : local reporters by the police; foreigners by gangs of toughs , acting on behalf of village leaders or government functionaries.

The village leaders are like Mafia bosses , who are supported by the government in their crimes. Last month, for example, police crushed a peaceful protest by villagers : incarcerating several protestors.

There are still some villagers in jail, including Mr. Guo Feixiong. Mr. Guo had been informing media what happened in Taishi, but he was seized by police and held incommunicado for over a week, before police finally confirmed that he had been arrested.

Mr. Guo has been on hunger strike for more than three weeks.
(Modified on 2005/10/11)
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