German journalist seized in Chinese earthquake zone

15th May 2008, Comments 0 comments

A journalist for the Suddeutsche Zeitung newspaper has been detained by the Chinese military after attempting to report on the recent earthquake

Beijing -- Security forces detained a German journalist and seized his laptop computer and other items Thursday in south-west China.

Henrik Bork, a correspondent for the Munich-based Sueddeutsche Zeitung, described the incident by telephone to Deutsche Presse- Agentur in Beijing later Thursday, following his release.

Traveling over unstable mountain roads the previous day, Bork had reached the town of Yingxiu in Wenchuan county, the epicentre of Monday's earthquake.

"They apprehended me and assigned three soldiers to watch me," said Bork, the only foreign journalist in the area.

The media in China is heavily regulated by the Chinese government. It is notoriously hard for foreign journalists to obtain travel documents for outlying areas during times of crisis.

The military said that  Bork had been detained as his safety could not be guaranteed.

Two dozen Chinese journalists in Yingxiu were able to work unchallenged, Bork said.

Destruction in the area is massive. According to reports from the state news agency Xinhua, several thousand people have died in Yingxiu alone. DPA

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