China reporters 'roughed up' trying to visit activist

Damian Grammaticas: "For five months the blind activist says he has lived under this 24-hour surveillance"

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Foreign reporters in China say they have been roughed up while trying to visit a prominent Chinese activist lawyer who is under house arrest.

CNN aired a video clip of a burly man pushing its reporter and throwing stones at the TV crew.

Other foreign journalists have told of being forcefully prevented from visiting Chen Guangcheng at his home.

Mr Chen and his wife were reportedly beaten after the release last week of a video showing his house arrest.

In the video, Mr Chen said he has been under surveillance since his release from jail last year.

Start Quote

In recent days several correspondents have encountered groups of violent, plain-clothes thugs”

End Quote Foreign Correspondent's Club of China

He lives with his wife, Yuan Weijin, in their house in a village in Shandong province, in eastern China.

Mr Chen - a blind man who is one of China's best-known activists - was imprisoned after claiming the authorities had carried out forced abortions under the country's one-child policy.

The pressure group China Human Rights Defenders said Mr Chen and his wife were badly injured by security officials after the video's release last week.


The CNN footage showed its journalist Stan Grant being roughly pushed down a road in rural China by a burly man wearing plain-clothes. The man then picks up stones and throws them at Mr Grant and the TV crew with him.

Chen Guangcheng (file photo 2006) Mr Chen, who has no formal legal training, became known as the "barefoot lawyer"

Passing another group of men in their car, more stones are thrown at them.

Other journalists have reported similar scenes at Mr Chen's village.

"We were roughly pushed away from Chen's home," AFP news agency quoted Brice Pedroletti, of French newspaper Le Monde, as saying.

Stephane Legarde, from Radio France Internationale, said men at Mr Chen's village took the memory card of his digital recorder and his Chinese media accreditation, AFP reported.

Journalists from the New York Times were also involved in an incident at the village.

The Foreign Correspondents' Club of China warned on Wednesday that "correspondents should be careful if they attempt to enter the village of activist Chen Guangcheng in Shandong province.

"In recent days several correspondents have encountered groups of violent, plain-clothes thugs" who were "operating in groups of more than a dozen," the warning continued.

"These men are carrying walkie talkies and blocking all entrances" to the village.

"They have pushed reporters around, threatened them with bricks, damaged their cars, confiscated or destroyed their equipment and taken their press credentials."

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