The Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) has urged mainland Chinese journalists covering protests in Hong Kong to clearly display their press passes, after a Chinese state media reporter was surrounded at the airport on Tuesday night.
Thousands of protesters conducted a mass occupation of the airport on Tuesday, bringing flights to a halt. At around 11pm, police attempted to escort a man out of the departures hall who had been accosted by protesters.
Shortly after police left, Fu Guohao – who was wearing a yellow press vest at the airport signifying he is a journalist – was surrounded by protesters. He was seen taking close-up photos of protesters who then asked him to show his press pass. However, he refused and tried to leave, according to a protester who was interviewed by reporters.
“He said in English that he was a tourist,” the protester said. “If he had cooperated, and did not try to run away, I believe we would not have had such a big reaction.”
— Tom Grundy (@tomgrundy) August 14, 2019
Fu was then surrounded by demonstrators, who tied his hands to a trolley with zip ties and searched his bag. In his bag, a blue t-shirt that stating “I love police” along with business cards of police officers were found. There was also a namecard belonging to a Global Times journalist other than Fu.
“The t-shirt was similar to that of the group who attacked people in Tsuen Wan, so we found him to be very suspicious,” the protester said.
Fu was only confirmed to be a Global Times journalist when protesters searched online and found his byline on Global Times reports.
As Fu was tied up, he said: “I support Hong Kong police. You may now beat me up.”
Pro-democracy lawmakers Kwok Ka-ki and Fernando Cheung tried to mediate to stop protesters from beating Fu. Fu was later escorted to an ambulance and discharged from a hospital on Wednesday.
Founded in 1993, the Global Times is a state-run tabloid under the Communist Party’s flagship paper the People’s Daily. The tabloid is known for its hard-line editorials.
The HKJA said it expressed disappointment over two recent incidents whereby mainland Chinese journalists were blocked from recording footage of protesters. They condemned the violent treatment of journalists.
The watchdog was making reference to an earlier case of a Hong Kong China News Agency (CNA) reporter who was ordered by protesters last week to delete videos.
“During the two incidents, the two journalists did not wear their press passes,” the HKJA said.
It urged residents to show respect to journalists who showed their press passes clearly, and also called upon mainland journalists to show press credentials when covering protests in Hong Kong.
“Residents can also exercise their rights to decide whether to accept the interview or coverage request of the relevant organisation,” it added.
Editor-in-chief of Global Times Hu Xijin said he strongly condemned the “illegal detention and serious violence” against the journalist.
Fu Guohao, reporter of GT website is being seized by demonstrators at HK airport. I affirm this man being tied in this video is the reporter himself. He has no other task except for reporting. I sincerely ask the demonstrators to release him. I also ask for help of West reporters pic.twitter.com/sbFb0L3s92
— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) August 13, 2019
“[Fu] has no other task except for reporting,” Hu said.