This just out from the Foreign Correspondents Club of China:
We’ve received the following report of an incident in which plainclothes thugs tussled with a German TV crew to prevent their interview with Yuan Weijing, wife of imprisoned activist Chen Guangcheng, in Shandong. Although there were no injuries, this was apparently quite a worrisome situation. We thought you’d be interested to know about it.
THUGS INTERFERE WITH GERMAN TV CREW IN SHANDONG, THROW STONES
JAN. 24, 2008 — Six to seven plainclothes thugs prevented a four-person ARD TV team from approaching the home of Yuan Weijing in a Shandong province village. It was the second attempt in two weeks by Germany’s ARD to talk with Yuan, wife of imprisoned blind human-rights activist Chen Guangcheng.
During the first attempt, police had arrested Yuan’s brother shortly before the team arrived. In the more recent incident, two of the thugs had stones in their hands and threatened the journalists. During the brawl that ensued, the cameraman fell to the ground. One of the thugs hit the camera with a stone, but didn`t destroy it. The team was not beaten but the journalists were threatened, insists ARD correspondent Jochen Graebert.
Although nobody was injured, he says, “these guys were like fighting robots. It was a dangerous situation.” After the team retreated to the outskirts of the village, Yuan came out of her house but was prevented from speaking to the media.
“Fighting robots.” Exactly. No thought or conscience, just doing as told, the banality of evil.
From now through August, each of these stories will be framed around the Olympics, like the Hu Jia article I posted yesterday. I wonder if they had any idea what they were getting themselves into when they signed on the IOC’s dotted line. Based on stories I’ve heard, I would conclude no – they had no idea, and they are totally paralyzed now that they realize the international media cannot be controlled by an edict from on high.
Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.