Asahi Shimbun correspondent beaten by Chinese police

July 29, 2012

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

The Asahi Shimbun lodged a protest with the Chinese government over the beating of its reporter covering the protest in Nantong of a Japanese company on July 28 and demanded the immediate return of his camera and press ID.

Atsushi Okudera, a correspondent in the newspaper’s Shanghai Bureau, was injured after police officers pushed him to the ground and kicked him in the head and about the body while he was covering the mass demonstration on July 28 in Nantong's Qidong district.

Demonstrators were protesting plans by Oji Paper Co. for a pipeline to pump wastewater into the sea, and their rage later erupted into violence against police, who quelled the protest by force.

Okudera, 41, was attacked when he was shooting pictures of demonstrators under attack by police. He was on the street in front of the municipal police building in Qidong.

All of a sudden, his camera was seized by police and 15 to 20 officers surrounded him and shoved him to the ground.

Although Okudera identified himself as a reporter, police kicked him for about 20 seconds. One of the officers jumped on him.

Police seized his press ID when he showed it to them after they stopped beating him and didn't return his camera, which contained images he shot of the protest.

Tsutomu Watanabe, the Asahi Shimbun’s international news editor in Tokyo, protested to the Chinese government over the incident. He also called for steps to be taken to prevent a recurrence.

“We cannot excuse it because it is extremely malicious obstructive behavior against the reporter’s legitimate news gathering activity,” Watanabe said. “We protest to the Chinese government and demand an apology and return of his camera and press ID.”

The Japanese Consulate General in Shanghai on July 28 said if the allegations are true, then it will also lodge a protest with local authorities over the incident.

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
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Atsushi Okudera (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Atsushi Okudera (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

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  • Atsushi Okudera (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

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