A Sky News video shows Mark Stone, a journalist, being taken off Tiananmen Square by police, after he uttered a word about the Tiananmen Square Massacre of 1989. (Sky News)
U.K. cable television viewers were given an insight into life in China on Friday, when they watched live footage of reporter Mark Stone being taken away by police in Tiananmen Square.
The Sky News correspondent and his cameraman, Andy Portch, were in Beijing reporting on the Chinese leadership’s political meetings when they were shepherded into a police van and whisked away for questioning.
Stone told viewers that the Chinese probably had not realized he was still on air. Meanwhile, a policewoman in plain clothes had a camcorder trained on him throughout the incident.
“Still in the police van, should be leaving in just a second for this rather surreal experience, which gives you a little insight into what can happen sometimes,” Stone said.
Stone believes they were stopped due to mention of the 1989 democracy protests on Tiananmen Square, when up to thousands of students and Beijing residents were massacred by the People’s Liberation Army.
“We were here in Tiananmen Square filming, doing lives through the day; now they’ve stopped us because of one word,” he said. “We were talking about the 1989 protests, they didn’t like that.”
The footage shows Stone talking to a police officer, who tells him they do not have permission to film inside the Forbidden City, and repeatedly asks the team to turn off the camera.
Stone describes the conversation as a typical case of how the authorities can behave toward foreign correspondents in China.
“The police have been entirely civil with us, but nonetheless they are detaining us,” he said. “This is a classic example of the way things seem to work sometimes in China.”
Although Sky News says they do have permission to film, apparently Stone and Portch were not displaying their press passes. Stone had also forgotten his passport, which he is supposed to carry with him at all times.
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