German TV Crew Mobbed In China | August 27, 2012 Issue - Vol. 90 Issue 35 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 90 Issue 35 | p. 11 | News of The Week
Issue Date: August 27, 2012 | Web Date: August 23, 2012

German TV Crew Mobbed In China

Police rescued reporters who were filming about industrial pollution
Department: Business
Keywords: lawsuit, China, press freedom, fluoride, Henan, police

Reporters from the German broadcaster ARD who were filming a report on industrial pollution in China say they required a police rescue after being captured by a mob at a chemical plant in Henan province earlier this month.

The incident occurred at a Do-Fluoride Chemicals plant in Zhongshan County, about a two-hour drive from the provincial capital of Zhengzhou. The ARD crew was outside the plant, taping footage of companies in the area, when three Do-Fluoride security staffers appeared, asking them to hand over their tapes and leave, says Christine Adelhardt, ARD’s Beijing-based correspondent.

“I didn’t see why I should hand over my tape as we were doing nothing wrong,” Adelhardt tells C&EN. More workers came out of the plant and surrounded the television crew, she says. Local police intervened and escorted the crew to a Do-Fluoride canteen.

Plant workers became agitated and started to chant, “Kill the foreign spies,” in Chinese, Adelhardt relates. The workers overpowered the police, seized the camera footage, and sequestered the news team for nine hours. A police SWAT team eventually freed the ARD crew.

Do-Fluoride is involved in a lawsuit with the German chemical engineering firm Chenco over unauthorized use of technology. Do-Fluoride workers may have convinced themselves that the ARD team was working for Chenco, Adelhardt speculates. She learned of the legal dispute only after returning to Beijing, she says.

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