Caixin
Nov 21, 2018 03:11 PM
POLITICS & LAW

Police Apologize for Harassing Caixin Reporter

The Quanzhou Public Security Bureau said it has punished a deputy branch director and has suspended another police officer. Photo: VCG
The Quanzhou Public Security Bureau said it has punished a deputy branch director and has suspended another police officer. Photo: VCG

Police in Quanzhou, East China’s Fujian province, have apologized for the harassment faced by Caixin reporter Zhou Chen while she was covering a chemical spill in the area.

Zhou was followed by officials after she attempted to interview a local mayor about the Nov. 4 petrochemical leak that locals say has hurt their fish farms and threatens their health. Local police later entered her hotel room at night demanding to see her identification card. They searched the room, claiming that it was a routine inspection.

Zhou Chen’s description of events is “basically true,” the Quanzhou Public Security Bureau said in a statement Tuesday afternoon. “Public security enforcement personnel in Quangang district have simple work methods and improper law enforcement behaviors, causing harm to society. We sincerely apologize for this,” the bureau said.

The bureau said it had asked Che Binyang, a branch deputy director, to present a self-criticism to the city’s public security party committee, and that it had suspended another police officer, Chen Huashan. It thanked the media for “supervising our work.”

The Quanzhou Public Security Bureau’s statement comes after multiple Chinese media outlets published critical reports about local officials’ handling of the petrochemical spill and their treatment of Zhou.

The People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the Communist Party of China, published a commentary in its overseas edition calling local officials’ treatment of Zhou a “farce.” It warned against what it described as the practice of trying to “save face” by allowing only “positive publicity.”

Contact reporter Teng Jing Xuan (jingxuanteng@caixin.com)

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