Monday, September 26, 2011

China arrests S. Korean journalists near border with N. Korea

Reporters Without Borders has reported that a group of journalists from the South Korean daily JoongAng Ilbo have been arrested by Chinese authorities on suspicion of spying. The group consists of four journalists, the head of a Seoul-based transport research centre and a local guide; they were arrested in a restricted military zone near the Tumen River, which forms the border with North Korea. Officials have confirmed that the group were travelling on tourist visas, and are being held in a hotel near the border. Reporters Without Borders has noted that “Press visas are hard to get and, when journalists lack them, the Chinese authorities use this as grounds for preventing them from working in this sensitive border area.” Chinese authorities are uncomfortable with foreign journalists visiting the North Korean border. In 2003, the South Korean freelance journalist Seok Jae-hyun was arrested for filming North Korean refugees fleeing to China and was held for 14 months on a charge of ‘trafficking human beings’.

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