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Local newspaper group wants China to say sorry

Dec 22,2017
The Korean Association of Newspapers asked the Chinese government to identify and punish the Chinese security guards who beat two Korean reporters as they were covering Korean President Moon Jae-in’s trip to Beijing.

“It’s been a week since the incident but the Chinese government has not identified the perpetrators,” said the association in its statement on Wednesday. “We suspect that the Chinese government may be trying to cover up for the perpetrators and trying to make the incident pass without proper action.”

It added, “If the Chinese government is indeed trying to protect the perpetrators, this would be another kind of violence inflicted on the Korean reporters who were beaten, an insult to the Korean media and an action that would hurt the diplomatic ties between the two countries.”

The International Press Institute (IPI) also condemned the incident on Tuesday.

“Violence against journalists is never acceptable. We strongly condemn this incident, which also reveals a troubling lack of understanding of journalists’ right to cover the actions of public officials,” said IPI Deputy Director Scott Griffen. “The Chinese authorities must clarify the facts and ensure that those responsible for these acts of assault are held accountable.”

On Dec. 14, Chinese security guards beat two photojournalists, one photojournalist from Hankook Ilbo and another from Maeil Business Newspaper, who were covering the presidential trip to Beijing from Dec. 13 to 16. The reporters were blocked from following the presidential entourage at two different occasions, at which point they complained and were beaten by the Chinese security guards. The Maeil Business Newspaper photojournalist was beaten by more than 15 Chinese men and took a severe beating to his face. Both were taken to a hospital for treatment.

The Chinese government has not issued an official apology.

“The Korean National Assembly hereby strongly condemns the perpetrators behind the incident and requests an official apology and thorough investigation of the incident by the Chinese government,” said Liberty Korea Party Rep. Khang Hyo-shang in submitting a motion signed by 22 lawmakers of the party on Thursday.

BY NOH JIN-HO, ESTHER CHUNG [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]