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China

German TV crew attacked in northern China

Germany has complained to China over an attack on a German public television crew in China's province of Hebei. The journalists say assailants hit their car with a baseball bat during filming of a report on urbanization.

The German Foreign Office said Friday it told China's deputy ambassador during a summons in Berlin that the attack on German and Chinese journalists working in China for Germany's ARD television network was in "no way acceptable."

The head of ARD's Beijing bureau Christine Adelhardt said she and her team of four were pursued and stopped twice by "four or five cars" just after they had filmed in the village of Da Yan Ge Hzuang in Hebei, some 50 kilometers from Beijing.

Two assailants first pummeled their car's windows and at the second forced-stop a baseball bat was used to fracture the car's windscreen, Adelhardt said.

German TV crew attacked in China

"They hammered against the windows, first just with their fists," she said. "We managed to escape, and during the chase they intentionally crashed into our car," Adelhardt said.

"They stopped us again and used baseball bats to smash the front window," she added.

The team then asked for help from traffic police who restrained the attackers. The team was then made to wait for 16 hours at a police station in the adjacent city of Sanhe as investigations ensued, she added.

Unhurt but shaken

The Beijing-based Foreign Correspondents' Club of China (FCCC) said it was "appalled" by the "brutal assault on a German TV crew by thugs apparently linked to local authorities."

A spokesman for NDR (Northern German Broadcasting) which runs the ARD studio in Beijing said its employees were physically unhurt but shaken up by the incident.

Rights groups have expressed concern over China's worsening treatment of foreign journalists since early 2011, when the ruling Communist Party suppressed activists' attempts to stage peaceful pro-democracy protests.

Most registered Chinese journalists face stricter censorship by Chinese state media. The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said it recorded 32 journalists in Chinese prisons at the end of last year, the world's third-highest total after Turkey and Iran.

ipj/dr (dpa, epd, Reuters)

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