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Attack on Journalist Highlights Obstruction
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On May 18, unidentified men broke into the house of Wen Chong, a journalist for the Nanfang City News, and chopped off two of his fingers. Since May 20, the newspaper has refused to give further details in case it affects the investigation, but local police said the motive is as yet unclear.


According to China Youth Daily, the men broke into Wen’s home in Zhongshan City, southern Guangdong Province, beat him up and chopped off the middle and index fingers of his right hand, leaving with the fingers and his mobile phone.


One of his colleagues said that Wen, from Jiangxi Province, is in charge of the Nanfang City News' regional office in Zhongshan.


Over 2,500 people expressed their concern for him online after news of the attack was published on Sina.com.cn.


Most of Wen's articles were on ordinary news, but he did report on organized crime in 2001. However, many other media covered the same story at the time.


Lin Jie, a journalist from China Youth Daily and the first to report the attack, said Wen is in a stable condition.


Although the violence involved in Wen’s case is already criminal, it has highlighted a wider issue of journalists' rights to gather and disseminate news.


Zhao Zhengruan, a lawyer from Kaida Law Office, said that there is currently no specific law to protect journalists' rights to fulfill their role effectively, and that violence against reporters, especially those who report on crime and corruption, is becoming increasingly frequent.


Yu Guoming, vice dean of Renmin University's Journalism and Communication School, said that, when journalists' coverage of news was disrupted by violence, the public interest is damaged.


According to Yu, journalists often meet with obstruction and evasion during their investigations of stories.

(China.org.cn by Wu Nanlan June 1, 2005)


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