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3 police officers detained after journalist attacked

By CAO YIN | China Daily | Updated: 2023-06-02 09:10
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Three police officers in Bijie city, Guizhou province, were dismissed from duty and detained for attacking and injuring a journalist, according to a release posted by a joint investigation team on Thursday.

One of the attackers, surnamed Xiong, was deputy head of the police station in Machang township in Zhijin county, while the others — surnamed Tao and Li — were auxiliary police officers at the station, the release said.

Xiong and Tao have been given 20-day administrative detentions, while Li has received 15 days, it stated. Xiong was removed from his post, and Tao and Li have been dismissed.

In addition, the deputy Party secretary of Machang, surnamed Peng, has also been removed from her post for allegedly playing a leading role in the incident.

According to the release, the police station in Maochang township, a township near Machang, received a call at 6:22 pm on Tuesday from a journalist who claimed that he had been attacked at a nearby hydroelectric plant.

Police arrived at the scene and took the reporter to a hospital nearby, where he was found to have sustained multiple soft tissue injuries.

The release identified the reporter as a man surnamed Li, but Sixth Tone, a news portal based in Shanghai, said his full name is Li Xiangcheng.

Li works for Jimu News in Hubei, the release said.

The attack aroused the attention of the Bijie government, which quickly set up a joint investigation team to look into the matter. The team included members from its public security bureau and its commission for political and legal affairs.

The release stated that Li used his smartphone to film a vehicle that he saw following him on his way to Shaba village, where he was heading to gather information for a story on Tuesday.

The vehicle, which was carrying the three police officers, overtook him and blocked his path. The three got out and attempted to stop him from filming.

They fought with Li, injuring his face and other parts of his body, and they broke his smartphone and glasses, the release said.

"The incident has taught us a lesson and exposed the poor grasp some officials have of the law. The attack harmed the media and had a negative effect on society," it stated. "We would like to apologize to the journalist and accept the public's criticisms."

According to Sixth Tone, Li was investigating the deaths of two teachers at the time of the attack.

The deaths occurred on April 13 when a hydroelectric station reportedly released a surge of water into a river where a small group of teachers had gathered.

Family members of the deceased teachers said the group had been sent to the river by school leaders to collect pebbles and pine cones to decorate the campus, but a local official has denied this account. An investigation into the deaths is ongoing.

Li, the journalist, talked to Chinese media on Thursday about the day he was attacked, saying that he saw a van following him at around 4:30 pm Tuesday. The van blocked his path as he arrived at the hydroelectric station 30 minutes later, he said.

"The three grabbed my phone and threw it on the ground after getting out of the van. When I moved to pick the phone up, they punched me and knocked my glasses off," the reporter said. "I held my head, and they punched me about six or seven times. The attack lasted for about one minute.

"On my way to hospital, You Xinjian, Party chief of Zhijin county, met me, and he accompanied me for examination and treatment," he said. "The official apologized to me at the time."

Li also expressed his great thanks for the care he received, adding that he is in stable physical condition.

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