Three detained, two local officials expelled from posts after journalist beaten in SW China
Published: Jun 02, 2023 12:01 AM
Handcuffs Photo: CFP

Handcuffs Photo: CFP

Authorities in the city of Bijie, Southwest China's Guizhou Province on Thursday announced that two local officials were put under administrative detention and expelled from their posts for attacking a journalist.

An investigation found that an investigative journalist, surnamed Li, who works with a media outlet based in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei Province, was beaten by three local officials in Zhijin county, Bijie when he was reportedly doing investigation and interviews into an earlier incident of the deaths of two local teachers.

Li, who was on his way to the spot of the tragedy on Tuesday, was followed by another vehicle, and was later beaten by the people on the following vehicle - Xiong, a deputy head of Machang township police station, and two auxiliary police officers. They damaged Li's belongings including the mobile phone and glasses. Doctors verified the victim had sustained multiple soft tissue contusions.

Xiong and one auxiliary police officer were placed in administrative detention for 20 days and another officer for 15 days in line with the Law on Penalties for Administration of Public Security, according to the latest announcement.

Peng, a deputy Party chief of Machang township who was not directly involved but should be in charge of related affairs, was expelled from the post. Xiong was also expelled from the post. The two auxiliary police officers were dismissed, it said.

The incident exposed some officials' indifference to the rule of law, injuring a journalist and creating adverse social impacts, the Thursday notice read. It also vowed to enhance education and management of officials and accept media and public supervision.

The county's government should make a more detailed briefing on the earlier event investigated as soon as possible, and other grassroots governments should also learn from this incident, observers noted.

The Zhijin county government issued a notice on May 28 about the drowning of two teachers who were found dead on April 17 and 21. Investigations into the incident remain ongoing.

Some challenged why it came more than one month after the tragedy. Some local people said the drowning was caused by water released from an upper stream reservoir, triggering suspicion over the incident.

Family members of the two teachers said they went to the river banks because the school ordered them to collect pebbles to decorate the school campus. The school denied these claims, yet the local investigation lacked details on this issue.
Global Times