CCTV Reporter Assaulted By Security Guards At Xi'an International Studies University

(剑语飘香的BLOG)  CCTV Reporter Assaulted By Security Guards At Xi'an International Studies University.  September 10, 2007.

[in translation]

1. The security chief directed the guards to surround and attack the reporter

CCTV reporter Liu Yuchen (刘煜晨) was gathering news in Xi'an when he was injured by attackers!

"Blood clot behind the right ear, with a bloody scar over a scratched area."
"Nerve-based ringing sensation in the ear.  Deafness induced by nerve damage"
"Extreme obstruction."
"Composite external brain damages."
...

These were the diagnoses from the Railroad Hospital one week after CCTV reporter Liu Yuchen was assaulted.  The doctor had observed these injuries seven days after the violent attack on Liu.  Seven days later, the doctor could not seen the blood coming out from the back of his head, or the blood oozing out of his ear.  Since that violent assault, the blood coming out his ear had clotted.  But the doctor noted the blood scars that occurred as a result of the violent attack seven days ago at the entrance of Xi'an International Studies  University.

When I saw the evidence on the evening, I felt very sad.  First of all, I told my CCTV friend Liu Yuchen that I was sorry.  On that morning, I used inappropriate language when I discussed his undeserved beating in Xi'an.  Furthermore, I apologized for my joke about him during a dream.  Such matters are not appropriate subjects for joking, even if in dreams.

CCTV <Economic 30 Minutes> reporter gets assaulted by more than a dozen security guards from the Xi'an International Studies University while gathering news in Xi'an!  The filming equipment was robbed, the reporter Liu Yuchen was injured and the camera was damaged!  The actions by the Xi'an International Studies University security guards were rarely seen in recent years.

An appalling act of violence occurred at a reasonably well-known university located in Guodu town in suburban Xi'an!  Based upon the seriousness of the case, I want to expose this case using the language of news reporting.  All the names of the individuals are real.  My friend Liu Yuchen said that he will bear full responsibility about the facts reported herein.

"Even now as I speak to you, I feel a sharp pain in my left ear.  When I fall asleep at night, I feel that I am riding in a train because of the roaring sounds in my ear.  I often wake up in the middle of my sleep due to the pain."

I read the medical record and then I looked at the left ear of Liu Yuchen.  I was shook up because this was the ironclad evidence of the violent action.

I met with Liu Yuchen on the evening of September 10.  He brought with him the documentary proof of his medical treatment at the Beijing Railroad General Hospital after the violent assault on him.

"Two days after the assault, I was still dizzy and uncomfortable.  I blacked out periodically, I could not open my mouth, my teeth were loose around the gums, I could not eat rice for ten days and so I could only eat congee and sour milk.  I lost 3 kilograms in weight over ten days."

The Xi'an International Studies University security cadre directed more than a dozen security guards to attack a CCTV reporter!  This seems incredible, but I had to believe it once I saw the evidence.  So what happened at the entrance of the Xi'an International Studies University?

The following is based upon what Liu Yuchen told me.

2.  A Positive Report Earned A Beating

It was 3pm when I and my cameraman Fan Jianen were accompanied by the Shaanxi Ministry of Education cadres to film some street scenes in Xi'an, including vehicular and pedestrian traffic, buildings with special Xi'an characteristics, etc.  On the way, we were going to film the entrances to Xi'an universities.  The subject of this report was about the use of state resources to assist impoverished university students.  We focused on the Xi'an Polytechnique University and the Xi'an Engineering University.  But the program script also contained one part that introduced the overall situation about Xi'an universities.  For example, 'although Xi'an is far out west in China, there are many institutitions of higher education.  There are more than 70 institutes of higher education, including a number of key universities.  The number and scope of the universities lead the nation."  These words are to be accompanied by films of the entrances to various universities.  That was why we were filming street scenes as well as university entrances.

("So how did the violent incident occur?"  I was intrigued.  This program was a good thing.  It was positive promotion.  So why did they assault the reporter?)

When we filmed the street scenes, each building with special characteristics only required two or three seconds.  But when we filmed the Xi'an International Studies University, the Shaanxi Ministry of Education cadre recommended: let us do a nice shot because the entrance to the university is really nice-looking and it can really present the new face of the universities of Xi'an.  Therefore, the cameraman Fan Jianen recommended a long shot from the opposite side of the street and then we approached the entrance to get a close-up.

(That was good.  The provincial cadre was being nice and the cameraman was professional.)

But when Fan Jianen began to film the close-up of the Xi'an International Studies University entrance, several security guards came out to stop him and prevent him from filming.  One of the security cadres was named Zhang Lijun.

Fan Jianen pointed to us behind him and explained: "We are from CCTV and we are doing a positive report.  Your provincial ministry of education is taking us around."

At that point, the security cadre Zhang Lijun began with a slur: "What kind of fart is the provincial ministry?"

I and my driver were standing more than ten meters away by our car.  When I heard Zhang Lijun's vulgar talk, I said, "Let's talk nice, can we?"

Zhang Lijun immediately raised his voice and he pointed at me: "Who the fuck are you?"

I replied: "Please do not point your finger at me, and keep your talk clean."

Our driver saw that things were going awry and told a joke to lighten the atmosphere: "You are not the national security agency that won't allow filming."

Zhang Lijun said: "But we are the fucking national security agency!"

By that time, there were five or six security guards standing next to Zhang Lijun.

I have been a reporter for twelve years.  Most of the time, I worked on watchdog journalism and exposÚs, and therefore I have seen all sorts of suddenly breaking incidents.  I could see that the other side wanted to instigate an incident since they had the numbers on their side.  So I used a slow and serious tone to remind him: "You can talk nicely without using filthy language.  There is no need to point your finger at my face."

"So what if I point my finger at you?  What are you?  If you have the guts, you come over here."  Zhang Lijun kept pushing.

At that moment, I would be a fool if I moved up as he said.  So I stood still.

(That is not easy.  But a good man will suffer a temporary ignominy in order to prevent an incident from deteriorating.)

By this time, the Shaanxi Ministry of Education cadre has presented all the identifications to Zhang Lijun and wrapped his hand around the shoulder to explain.  But another five or six security guards emerged from a side entrance to the Xi'an International Studies University.  They were led by a strong and powerful man over 1.8 meters tall whom I learned later was named Liu Gong.  He is the director of the security division of the Xi'an International Studies University.

At this time, there were a dozen security guards.  Zhang Lijun challenged again: "What are you?  CCTV?  If you have the guts, you come over here."

I backed up repeatedly, but the other side kept pushing.  To exhibit weakness would only make the other side feel stronger.  So I walked up and he also approached me.  When we were one meter apart, I stopped.  I would not be tricked so that we are in physical contact.

I stopped, but he did not.  He continued to approach.  I stopped him immediately.  "I have stopped.  You better not come near me, or else you will be touching me."

The other party ignored what I said and continued to approach.  He also pointed his finger at me and said: "So what if I touch you?"

I said: "Do not raise your hand.  Do not point your figure at me.  Do not touch me."

But I was only using words to stop him and he perceived my weakness.  He continued to wag his finger at me and he kept poking my body.

I reminded him three times, but he kept poking my body with his finger, each time harder than before.

(That is pushing it too far.  If this was a militia policeman, he would have pulled out his gun and fired a warning shot to stop the thug!)

But Zhang kept cursing me and poking me with his finger.  He kept me hitting me harder and harder.  I raised my left hand to push his hand aside.

At that moment, the security guards smelled blood and they all rushed over to hit me with their hands and feet.

My head, mouth, jaw, temple and other body parts were hit by blows.  I kept dodging and yelling, "Lao Fan, keep filming and see if anyone dares to hit me."

It was around 3:30pm in afternoon.  In broad daylight, such violence took place.  But I refused to fight back, because that will only raise their fighting spirit.  So I counted on the camera to intimidate the other side.

But the security guards did not stop their beating.  Instead, some other security guards charged at the cameraman in order to seize his camera.

3.  Someone cried aloud: "Kill him!"

The Shaanxi Ministry of Education cadre placed his body in front of me to stop me from getting killed.  He yelled, "Who dares to keep up with the assault?"

But his pleas had no effect on these people.  One security guard kicked the provincial cadre in the groin!  When the provincial cadre toppled over on the ground, the security guards gathered to attack me.  They kicked me down onto the ground, they hit me on the head with their hands and feet.  I struggled to get up and dash out of the crowd while yelling, "Lao Fan, keep filming for evidence!"

But those security guards rushed instead towards the cameraman to seize his camera!

I yelled: "Don't damage the equipment.  It costs 300,000 yuan!"

But someone yelled: "Kill him!"

During this time, everyone who was around the Xi'an International Studies University joined in.  Some of them used their fists and some of them tossed curses.  The whole incident lasted more than 40 minutes.  A student from Xi'an International Studies University and cursed the reporter with lousy English: "I fuck ..."  Meanwhile, the spectators laughed.

Because the other side had the numbers and they were trying to escalate the incident, I knew that I cannot retaliate against the insults form the other side.  I kept reminding the other party: "Do not use filthy language.  Please do not suppose that I don't understand English.  Please keep your mouth clean."

But this Xi'an International Studies University student just laughed and continued to laugh and curse.

My left ear, my jaw, my lip, my temple and the left side of the back of my head were swollen.  My ear was hurting and ringing.  My brain lost consciousness temporarily.  I experienced periodical memory loss over the next week.

The camera equipment was vandalized.  The provincial cadre was assaulted.  Fan Jianyin called the police on 110.  He called twice.

When the attackers realized that the police had been summoned, they left the scene quickly in an organized fashion.

We waited for more than 30 minutes but the police never came.  The Shaanxi Ministry of Education cadre called his supervisor to make a report and received the directive: withdraw from the scene immediately!

(This is appalling!  This incident occurred at the front entrance of a university.  The perpetrators were the university security guards and their leaders.  Even students took part!  I am perplexed.  The police were called, but they did not come.  Why didn't the people help?)

This took place in the new campus of the Xi'an International Studies University located in the Xi'an suburban town of Guodu town.  There is nothing else around the area except for the Xi'an International Studies University!  All the spectators were from the Xi'an International Studies University!  All those who saw the incident were either hitting or cursing the reporters!

(I'm perplexed.  Is this China?  Is there any rule of law?)

4.  The University Explains: They had been exposed before and therefore their security people were sensitive

So why did the security guards attack the reporters for no apparent reason?  I cannot figure this out.  We have no grudge with you, so how can you resort to such violence?

On that evening, the Xi'an International Studies University deputy party secretary Liang and the chancellor Lu Shidu came to the reporter's hotel to offer personal apologies and explanations.

The leaders of the Xi'an International Studies University said: It was a misunderstanding, it was a misunderstanding.  A while ago, a newspaper wrote a negative exposÚ about our university.  Therefore, our security guards are sensitive about reporters and therefore they took action.  It is understandable that people act abnormally when they are sensitive.

Just because you were exposed previously means that you will beat any reporter that you come across?

I proposed: ask the police to investigate; punish the perpetrators; make compensation for my physical and mental injuries through medical examination and legal channels.

The university leaders realized that this was a serious matter and apologized repeatedly: "The quality of our security people is poor and we have been lax in supervision" and so on.  They said: "We will deal with this seriously and we will provide you with a satisfactory answer."

I am perplexed: these security guards were well-trained when they assaulted me.  When the security chief Liu Gong and the cadre Zhang Lijun issued the order, a dozen security guards used their hands and feet to attack my most vulnerable body parts.  It did not seem that they were poorly trained.  Instead, the security supervisors had strong leadership.

5.  The Promise of Serious Follow-Up Fell Through

The university security director Wang Zhengqiang said: "Reporter Liu, if you won't call the police and tell the media, I am willing to get down on my knees to beg you.  I will get the security chief Liu Gong here and I will let you beat the crap out him."

The Shaanxi Ministry of Education cadre also advised me not to bring the police in, because the Shaanxi Ministry of Education and the Xi'an International Studies University will deal with this affair seriously.

On the afternoon of the next day, Xi'an International Studies University security director Wang Zhengqiang brought over 10,000 yuan for my medical treatment and compensation.  I turned the offer down decisively.

On that evening, the university deputy security director sent 10,000 yuan over again and said: "You get your injuries examined at first.  We will be responsible for whatever other medical fees and mental/job compensation that may be incurred."

I asked him to write a statement but he left immediately.  Three days later, director Wang Zhengqiang signed a statement and asked the reporter to accept 10,000 yuan for his medical treatment.  He promised that follow-up medical fees will be considered separately.

Two days later, Xi'an International Studies University security director Wang Zhengqiang informed the news media: "Friendship came out of this incident.  Let us forget about the incident."

Three days later, I asked Xi'an International Studies University about the status of their serious investigation of this affair, but they ignored me.

I asked the CCTC <Economics 30 Minutes> leader to speak to the other party and asked them about the compensation over the attack on the report as well as the damage to the filming equipment.  But Xi'an International Studies University security director Wang Zhengqiang got tough and said: "Our chancellor is a member of the National People's Congress and he is also a ember of the Democratic Party."

I and my department head tried to call Xi'an International Studies University Lu Shidu many times, but somehow our calls never go through.

"A CCTV reporter gets attacked, and nothing happens with respect to the case?  It was a regular news gathering activity!"  I don't get it.

"How can this be, when the Xi'an International Studies University chancellor kept insisting that he is a National People's Congress delegate?  And this person is indeed a National People's Congress delegate." 

(Is a National People's Congress delegate entitled to direct others to commit violence?  Is a member of the Democratic Party allowed to break the law?  If Lu Shidu is a National People's Congress delegate, does he represent all the people of China?)

6.  Is There Any Background Behind This Story?

I have nothing more to say.  But I have a question that has not yet been addressed: Why were the security guards at this university so "sensitive" about reporters?  Why did they resort to violence as soon as they spotted a reporter?  What is the unspeakable secret behind this case?

I cannot speculate, so I asked Liu Yuchen, and his response was as follows:

Let me offer a clue to you and you can investigate for yourself:

First: Xi'an International Studies University requisitioned 1,000 mu of land from Guodu town for their campus.  The peasants whose land was requisitioned protested and the university security guards assaulted the protesting peasants.

Second: Many security guards at the Xi'an International Studies University have gangster backgrounds.

I am just a freelance writer and I don't have the ability to go to Xi'an and investigate any unspeakable caper over at the Xi'an International Studies University.  I can only hope that interested journalists can go there to investigate.  But if you are really interested in going, please make all the requisite security arrangements.  After all, this is the Xi'an International Studies University!

Will all reporter friends please take care of themselves!