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Korean press cries foul over Beijing's midnight search
Noam Haas
9/3/2002

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The Korean press is now stir-frying with apparent frustration and anger over the latest event that took place late at night on September 1 in Beijing, where a reporter for Korean Daily, a major Korean newspaper, was paid a “special visit” by Beijing secret police. These police were quoted as saying “carrying out their duty” after searching this Korean reporter’s home and confiscating his passport and those of his family members, residence permit, reporter badge, as well as his interview notes.

The interrogation took more than two hours. This reporter was reportedly questioned for his identification, phone numbers, moving-in time, contact methods, information on Koreans living nearby—such data was compiled into 4 pages of investigation document.

This incident, a long-time Beijing watcher suggested, was a calculated move by Beijing. With the 16th Community Party Conference in sight, Beijing applies its routine censorship and scare strategy to the already overly-cautious foreign press, so that those “Yang Gui Zhi” (foreign devils) would behave and report according to the Party line. The latest events of North Koreans attempting to escape via foreign embassies in Beijing have annoyed and embarrassed China quite a bit. In fact, Beijing suspects that South Korea is behind this defecting movement.

Now, google.com, the most popular online search engine, has joined over 500,000 foreign websites to be banned for use in China. Beijing often frowns over those “uncooperative” foreign press reports. One edition of The Economist was banned because its critical coverage of Beijing’s crackdown on student democracy movement and the Falun Gong spiritual movement, although the distribution of this magazine is quite limited in China to begin with.

Beijing has discovered over time that such bullying act toward foreign press in Beijing might be lack of civility, but they have worked remarkably well in silencing foreign dissenting voices coming out from Beijing.

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