BBC reporters attacked by ‘thugs’ in Xinhua county, near Loudi, Hunan

BBC reporters attacked by 'thugs' in Xinhua county, near Loudi, Hunan
[CORRECTION ALERT: Xinhua is a county, not a township. I’ve corrected that error.] JISHOU, HUNAN — A BBC correspondent reported today that he and his team were attacked while attempting to interview a local woman about her petitions to the national government. The altercation occurred in a village of Xinhua county in the jurisdiction of Loudi, a city about three and half hours from Jishou. John Sudworth says a group of people prevented him from meeting Yang Linghua, a resident who planned to journey to Beijing to present her grievances to the national congress there. Then, Sudworth says he and his team were physically accosted and their equipment smashed. Then they were chased out of town. Eventually, uniformed police and local officials came out, and required Sudworth and the other journalists to sign a forced confession that they had conducted an “illegal interview.” Ms Yang was also detained, he says in his account. After we left the village, we were chased down and had our car surrounded by a group of about 20 thugs. They were then joined by some uniformed police officers and two officials from the local foreign affairs office, and under the threat of further violence, we ...

BBC travel correspondent visits Fenghuang (video)

JISHOU, HUNAN — I get excited when I see familiar scenes from my “neighborhood” on the Internet. Fenghuang is about 45 minutes from here, and has become a very popular stop for tourists looking for picturesque views of ancient China. Here’s the link to the page in case the video isn’t working. The young lady he’s talking to, Wu Ling, is dressed in the traditional wedding garb of the Miao minority. It’s for tourism reasons. Miao girls don’t ordinarily walk around with five pounds of silver on their heads.

The little girl in the photo, 38 years later

This photograph, taken by Vietnamese photog Nick Ut for the Associated Press, has been called the iconic photo of the Vietnam War. I remember seeing it in the newspapers when I was in high school, and the image is still stored away somewhere in my brain. Ut snapped it as children fled their Napalmed village, Bang Trang, on July 8, 1972. The little girl in the center is Kim Phuc, who was nine years old at the time. The Napalm had burned off all her clothes and left her with horrible burns over half her body. Ut and a film crew for ITN, the British TV network, saved Phuc’s life, twice. First, they doused her with water and rushed her to a British hospital. Then the ITN crew arranged for her to be transferred to a US hospital for further treatment. Since then, Phuc, now 47, has enjoyed periods of anonymity and suffered from the glare of publicity. The Vietnamese government used her as a “poster child” for the war while she was a young woman, against her wishes. She was able to attend university in Cuba, where she married a fellow Viet student. On their way to Moscow for ...

I was on the BBC World Service tonight 12

JISHOU, HUNAN — It was only for a minute or two, but my voice went out all over the world. Did you hear me? This morning, I wrote a reaction to former president Bill Clinton’s visit to North Korea to retrieve the two American journalists imprisoned there. Tonight, while I was chatting online with one of my students, Lynfay, my website notified me that a comment was awaiting moderation. About 90 minutes later, I decided to check the comment out. My first reaction was disbelief. The comment was from a woman identifying herself as Shaimaa Khalil, a journalist with the BBC World Service, who said she wanted me to say something on the program, “World, Have Your Say.” After four years of dealing with comment spam, I checked out the website and by golly, there really is a Shaimaa Khalil who works for a real BBC program called “World, Have Your Say.” [Sorry, Beeb, this program is broadcast live at 1 am China time, so I have never listened to it and had never heard of it. Nothing personal.] Anyway, Ms Khalil wanted my telephone number so she could talk to me a bit before the program. We spoke briefly ...
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