Attack on editor alarms media industry

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Police are investigating after an editor with Caijing Magazine was attacked on Friday night by two men with steel bars.

Fang Xuanchang was left with injuries to his back and head after the five-minute assault on Zengguang Road, in Haidian district.

"The two suspects just hit me with steel bars without saying anything," Fang said. "I think they just wanted to kill me."

Fang told METRO he needed an antibiotic intravenous drip and stitches. The stitches will be removed in early July.

"If there are no internal injuries, I should recover soon," he said.

The case is under investigation by Haidian police and the two attackers are still at large.

According to Li Weiao, a colleague of Fang's who also works at Caijing Magazine, Fang is a kind person with no enemies.

Fang said he initially thought his attackers were beating the wrong man, but now he thinks they had been laying in wait for him.

Fang Zhouzi, a famous civilian scholar and columnist who knows Fang, said the attack may have been related to Fang's work.

Fang Zhouzi said on his blog that Fang Xuanchang had been working for China News Weekly and during this time had written many critical reports.

Fang Xuanchang told METRO he was not comfortable speculating about who might have been behind the attack and will wait for the results of the police investigation.

He said in his blog that he had been prepared to suffer from retaliation.

"For me, it is no big deal because I'm a reporter," he said, but he also shared his concerns about the potential impact on the media industry.

"At first, I did not want it to be widely reported", he said on his blog. "Many people may be reluctant to be a reporter because of the potential risk and I am also worried that reporters might shy away from in-depth reports with similar topics."

Despite his concerns about publicizing his beating, he said it is important to let the public know about the living conditions of reporters, so their protection might be improved.

"Through this malignant case, I hope society will pay more attention to protecting the safety of reporters. Protecting reporters would not be a privilege because they face different security threats to the general public," Fang said. "It is necessary because it is a basic guarantee of fair and impartial reports."

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