Truth about arrested reporters?

Updated: 2016-02-01 08:01

(China Daily)

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The Wuwei city government will definitely become embroiled in conspiracy theories unless it comes clean as soon as possible about the three reporters who were arrested by local police on suspicion of blackmailing and extorting money from their clients.

An open letter allegedly posted online by Lanzhou Morning Post, the employer of one of the three reporters, casts doubts on the allegations of the Wuwei police, strongly believing that the reporters have been framed for their critical reporting on local affairs.

Until the Liangzhou district procuratorate announced their arrest on Jan 25, the three journalists were missing, and both their employers and their families had no idea about their whereabouts for more than two weeks.

Had the three reporters committed the crime of extorting money or gifts from their clients, which has happened in other cases in the past, it should have been no problem for the local police and prosecutors to investigate and detain them for trial if they found evidence to support the charges.

Nevertheless, the covert way the local police detained the reporters and that their arrest was made in such a hasty manner and not announced until more than two weeks had passed, providing enough fodder for conspiracy theories.

It is thus natural for the reporters' employers and the majority of the public to suspect that the local Wuwei government is deeply involved in their arrest. Should that be the case, it would be a serious abuse of both administrative and judicial power.

The Gansu provincial procuratorate sent an investigation team to look into the matter on Sunday. Hopefully, the team will investigate in an objective manner and uncover the truth behind the arrests.

It is not just the fate of three journalists that the public is concerned about. They also want to know whether local judiciaries can operate independent of local governments