Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Protesters, British Journalist Roughed Up by Chinese Police

Chinese police dragged a British journalist on the ground and detained him while eight pro-Tibet activists were arrested for protesting near the main Olympic stadium in Beijing on Wednesday.

Uniformed police pounced on John Ray, China correspondent for Independent Television News, wrestled him to the ground and dragged him into a nearby restaurant, where he was forcibly held by officers who reportedly stood on his hands, witnesses and the reporter told AFP.

Also Wednesday, a rights group said a Chinese activist who applied for permission to protest against corruption during the Olympics was taken away by security agents.

Ji Sizun came to Beijing from the southern province of Fujian and wanted to demonstrate in one of three protest zones Chinese officials have designated for the games, Human Rights Watch said in a statement.

Ji, 58, applied at the Deshengmenwai police station on Aug. 8, the day the Olympics began, and disappeared three days later, when he went back to check on his application, it said.

Witnesses saw Ji enter the police station on August 11 only to be escorted out of the building later and put into a car by several men "who appeared to be plainclothes policemen," the group said.

Ji's cell phone was turned off on Wednesday. A man who answered the telephone at the Deshengmenwai police station said no one had been arrested or taken away.

"Petitioners have the right to apply. We don't dare to touch them," said the officer. He refused to comment further and said he was too busy to give his name or position."

Pictured: March of the clones?

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