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VRT-journalist about abuses in China: “I have cried and for my life begged’

VRT-journalist Tom Van de Weghe testifies in the Dutch tv-program ‘Medialogica’ about his ill-treatment by a Chinese gang, about ten years ago. ‘In China you can every day a spectacular report, but then you black and blue beaten.’

By the Weghe was in China in 2008 to work as a TELEVISION correspondent for the Flemish public broadcaster, when he and his team at the end of november were attacked, beaten and robbed by local authorities in the province of Henan. The Chinese security services could apparently not that Of the Weghe there, a report came out about aids.

By the Weghe would go talk with some of the ngos aids orphans to collect and medical assistance to aids patients. The police and the local government appeared at the height of the agreements. They had the staff of the organizations prohibited to the journalist and the camera crew talking.

‘Beaten and robbed by trained bastards’

The whole day was the Weghe, and his team followed. When they were on their way to another village, they had to the side and came men on them. They demanded the tape of the interview, the team them to say that immediately gave.

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On the way to the airport was the camera crew once again stopped. The VRT staff were hits and had more tapes issue. The raiders steel money, micro batteries, before, they the team returned to the airport were driving.

‘At a certain moment we see in the distance a van will arrive and there six of those bears. Shaved, well-trained bastards, ‘cups meat’ as we in China call’, says the journalist in the ‘Medialogica’report ‘Xi, Xi, what you do not see” about censorship in China.

‘Spare us. Make us not dead’

“They have us out of the car, dragged and stripped naked. We were beaten and robbed. Our devices and the money that I had, they have all taken.’

“It was a gang of us was sent off, with the intention that reportage of the antenna. “Let’s use everything we have’, I said. We were crying and screaming and nearly naked in the freezing cold. ‘Spare us. Make us not dead”, I begged.’

VRT asked afterwards to compensate for the damaged equipment, to apologize to the journalists and ensuring that journalists can safely work. The Chinese authorities gave a few weeks later, the seized tapes back. The incident also got still a tail in the Flemish Parliament.

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